Latest News

  • The News Star
    Michael Carter
    Mike Carter, owner of Monroe Rubber & Gasket Co. Inc., is a small business owner in Louisiana affected by frivolous asbestos-related lawsuits and has spent thousands of dollars traveling to Washington and Baton Rouge to convince lawmakers to pass legislation that would create transparency in the asbestos bankruptcy trust systems. In an open letter, Mr. Carter urged his Senator, John Kennedy of Louisiana, to support the federal bill Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act. Mr. Carter says, "This legislation would expose people cheating the system, while protecting the privacy of those legitimately drawing financial support from the trusts."
  • Press Mentor
    Travis Akin
    Illinois, or the "land of lawsuits," is rated as the third-worst state for legal fairness for housing three of the worst "judicial hellholes" as ranked by the American Tort Reform Association. Less than 1% of asbestos litigation cases filed in the state took place there, which has created a hotbed for plaintiff lawyers to file cases in the state, overwhelming the system and allowing fraud to take place.
  • Louisiana Record
    John Sammon
    Melissa Landry, executive director of the Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch, supports the federal FACT Act, an asbestos transparency bill that would bring comprehensive reform to the bankruptcy trust system to prevent double-dipping and fraud. The bill will allow for more oversight and communication between the courts and the trusts to effectively pay out the correct compensation to asbestos plaintiffs.
  • NY State of Politics
    A bipartisan asbestos trust transparency bill in the New York state senate will stop claimants from double-dipping in the court and bankruptcy trust systems. The bill requires claimants to file for bankruptcy claims within 45 days of filing in court to deter attorneys from falsifying and tailoring their injury claims to maximize payouts and would restore fairness to the court system.
  • Legal Newsline
    John Crane Inc. filed a lawsuit against Shein Law Center and attorney Benjamin P. Shein on the basis that the law firm violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. JCI claims Shein Law Center “devised and implemented a scheme” and "fabricated false asbestos ‘exposure histories’" fabricating how their clients were injured to maximize payouts from defendants.
  • Business Wire
    A report release by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform showed positive reform to the asbestos trust system limiting fraud and abuse in the system without delaying the results of the trail and burdening the plaintiffs. Ohio was the first state to pass asbestos transparency reform in 2013, and since then, 11 other states have passed the same law. Ohio is an example of success this law has on ensuring fair compensation for plaintiffs.
  • The Advocate
    Melissa Landry
    Melissa Landry, executive director of the Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch, wrote in an open letter to Louisiana’s U.S. Senators John Kennedy (R-LA) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to support the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2017 (FACT Act). She addresses the issues of transparency and fraud in the trust systems and call for commonsense reforms that will "preserve existing funds and ensure all deserving future claimants receive the maximum relief for their illnesses and injuries."
  • Madison St. Clair Record
    Heather Isringhausen Gvillo
    A report release by the Illinois Civil Justice League (ICJL) concluded that legislation is necessary to create transparency among asbestos claims in the tort and trust systems. Claimants usually file lawsuit against solvent companies in the court system seeking compensation for injuries before also filing in the asbestos trust systems, which often results in “double-dipping”. Illinois is a hotbed for asbestos civil lawsuits as Madison County recorded one-third of all new asbestos lawsuits filed in the country in 2016. The President of ICJL John Pastuovic called Illinois “ground zero” for asbestos lawsuits.
  • St. Louis Record
    Jon Campisi
    The Missouri legislature has two active bills in the House and Senate. If either is passed, Missouri will become the 13th state to have active legislation to reform civil asbestos laws about trust transparency through claim disclosure. Governor Eric Greitens has tort reform high on his list of legislative reform and at his first State of the State address said, “too long in this state, trial lawyers have picked our people’s pockets, and it’s time to do different.” St. Louis was voted as the number one "judicial hellhole" by the American Tort Reform Association.
  • The Huffington Post
    Sara Warner
    This week North Dakota and Mississippi both passed asbestos transparency laws, becoming the third and fourth states to pass similar legislation in 2017. California, a state that is prone to asbestos litigation filings, is moving towards reform in 2017. In a study conducted by the Civil Justice Association of California, only 10 percent of asbestos cases filed in the last 10 years have been from residents of California. The federal government also has a chance to make major asbestos tort reform as a bill currently sits in the US Senate after passing the House of Representative with a vote of 220-201.
  • Legislative Assembly of North Dakota
    House bill 1197, relating to asbestos bankruptcy trust transparency, was signed into law by the governor on April 17, 2017. The bill amends title 32 of the North Dakota Century Code and creates transparency among claimant’s trust filings.
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    Heather Isringhausen Gvillo
    Special Electric Company Inc. and an Ohioan claimant settled one week into trial after opening statements were made. The defendant argued that the exposure of the claimant was caused by Special Asbestos Company, a former joint venture partner, but was not a partner at the time the claimant was injured.
  • Asbestos Case Tracker
    A Mississippi bill titled Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Transparency Act passed the state House and Senate and was signed into law by the Governor. The legislation will “provide transparency with respect to asbestos bankruptcy trust claims in civil asbestos actions by creating substantive rights for defendants to obtain bankruptcy trust discovery.”
  • The Huffington Post
    Sara Warner
    Four Attorney’s General have sued asbestos bankruptcy trusts for information regarding payouts to claimants to determine whether they are withholding money from Medicaid and Medicare by failing to reimburse the programs.
  • The Jewish Voice
    Hannah Hayes
    Manhattan federal Judge Valerie Caproni granted Sheldon Silver bail during his appeal of a 12-year corruption conviction. Although the McDonnell Supreme Court ruling narrows the definition of corruption, Judge Caproni still believes he is guilty. Silver was convicted in late 2015 after funneling more than $500,000 in state funding to a researcher at Columbia University in exchange for referrals of Mesothelioma patients to a law firm that kicked-back $3 million to Silver.
  • Central Penn Business Journal
    Roger DuPuis
    The Attorney General of Utah filed a lawsuit against four asbestos trusts, including the Armstrong trust, for information to determine whether there are fraudulent claims that are draining the system, which is in response to an unanswered Civil Investigation Demand letter that went unanswered as of March 7, the day the complaint was filed.
  • St. Louis Record
    Chandra Lye
    Travis Akin of the Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch welcomed a recent Missouri Supreme Court ruling that limited the tort cases that could be filed in the state. Only companies that conduct the main part of their business could file, limiting the number of unrelated asbestos claims in the state.
  • Forbes
    Daniel Fisher
    On March 7, 2017, the Attorney General of Utah sued four asbestos bankruptcy trusts in an attempt to require them to comply with civil investigative requests from more than a dozen other states seeking information about Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. Utah’s complaint says “abuse of asbestos trusts is occurring” by plaintiffs’ attorneys that frequently sue for asbestos-related claims.
  • SE Texas Record
    David Yates
    Texans for Lawsuit Reform released a paper titled “The Story of Asbestos Litigation in Texas and Its National Consequences,” which covers asbestos litigation in the state, including abuses of the system by plaintiffs’ attorneys. In some cases, the report says, lawyers sought to include uninjured claimants to overwhelm the court systems and receive massive payouts.
  • Louisiana Record
    Nicholas Gueguen
    Melissa Landry, executive director of Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch, voiced support for U.S. House of Representatives bill H.R. 985, which passed 220 – 201 in the House March 9, 2017. If enacted, the legislation would increase transparency by requiring asbestos bankruptcy trusts to file quarterly reports of payouts to claimants.
  • Madison - St. Claire Record
    Ann Maher
    A report by consulting firm KCIC found that Madison County was once again home to the busiest asbestos court in the nation last year, accounting for 1,078 mesothelioma total cases in 2016—47 percent of all cases filed in the U.S.
  • Asbestos Case Tracker
    Lynn A. Lehnert
    North Dakota is the third state in 2017 to pass and sign legislation regarding asbestos trust transparency. The legislation will help ensure fair compensation for plaintiffs, reduce fraud and prolong the trust system for future injured plaintiffs.
  • Harris Martin
    A Rhode Island Superior Court awarded summary judgment to Crane Co. March 13, 2017 on the basis that the plaintiff did not establish a clear connection between the alleged personal injury and the asbestos-containing parts manufactured by the defendant.
  • Reuters
    Brendan Pierson
    Federal appeals judges weighed whether or not former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s corruption conviction can stand based on its similarity to former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s corruption conviction, which was overturned. Among other charges, Silver was convicted in late 2015 for engaging in a quid pro quo agreement with a mesothelioma researcher to whom he funneled state research funding in exchange for asbestos claimant referrals.
  • Lawyers and Settlements
    Gordon Gibb
    A California appeals court upheld a ruling in favor of an asbestos defendant confirming that the cause of the plaintiff's personal injury could not be attributed to the defendant based on California's minimum for plausibility. 
  • Asbestos Case Tracker
    Lynn A. Lehnert
    South Dakota is the first state in 2017 to enact legislation creating transparency in civil asbestos cases with regard to claimant filings in asbestos bankruptcy trusts. The legislation will require claimants to disclose previous and future claims in asbestos trusts and requires the evidence to be admissible in court.
  • Florida Record
    Nicholas Gueguen
    The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2017 on March 9, 2017. Florida Justice Reform Institute President William Large voiced support saying it was a much-needed step in civil justice reform.
  • The Des Moines Register
    William Petroski
    Iowa State Senate Bill 376, an asbestos transparency claims trust bills passed the Senate on March 8th, 2017. The bill requires cliamants to disclose all asbestos related claims filed with bankruptcy trusts to ensure fair compensation for plaintiffs and reduce the chance of double-dipping into the trusts and court systems. 
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    Heather Isringhausen Gvillo
    A Madison County jury ruled in favor of defendant Hennessy Industries Inc. on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. Madison County rarely sends asbestos cases to trial, but when it does, they typically end in a defense verdict.
  • KFYR TV
    North Dakota is considering a law that would affect how claimants sue for damages from asbestos exposure. The legislation would allow personal injury claimants to collect compensation sooner while increasing the transparency of the bankruptcy trust system.
  • Law360
    Daniel Siegal
    A New York appellate court on Feb. 28, 2017 affirmed a ruling that concluded there was not enough evidence connecting Ford Motor Company’s products to an auto mechanic’s injury, which the plaintiff alleged was caused by asbestos exposure, correctly eliminating an $11 million payout.
  • Harris Martin
    The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary recommends the passage of the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act, a bill that supports the public disclosure of claims submitted with bankruptcy trusts.
  • Harris Martin
    A U.S. District Court in Maryland granted a defense motion requiring plaintiffs to submit more detailed accounts of their claims of asbestos-related injury, because their inquiry was excessively onerous for the defendant.
  • The Huffington Post
    Sara Warner
    After a screening of the nearly finished "Unsettled" documentary about asbestos lawsuits and fraud in the trust and litigation systems, viewers formed a group called Asbestos Double-Victims Workgroup to explore the issues brought up in the movie and the pending legislation that could move in a Trump administration.
  • Harris Martin
    U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), along with several co-sponsors, reintroduced a bill that would increase the transparency of the asbestos litigation and trust systems. The same version of the bill was introduced last Congress. If passed, the legislation would require regular reports on bankruptcy trust claims but would also protect the privacy of claimants.
  • Forbes
    Jessica Karmasek
    The U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act, which would increase the transparency of the asbestos litigation and trust systems, on Feb. 15, 2017. “The FACT Act requires bankruptcy trusts to be transparent like other courts. This will ensure deserving victims receive the maximum relief for their illness and injuries, while preserving privacy protections, and weeding out bad actors who would take advantage of the system," House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said.
  • Harris Martin
    A New York jury on Feb. 15, 2017 reached a defense verdict in an asbestos lawsuit after a seven-week trial, not finding that the defendant was liable for the claimant's personal injury. The plaintiff alleged exposure to asbestos through the defendant's commercial kitchen equipment.
  • Mealey's
    A Delaware federal magistrate judge recommended summary judgment for most of the defendants in an asbestos lawsuit Feb. 8, 2017, ruling that the plaintiff was unable to establish a genuine issue of material fact.
  • Legal Newsline
    The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2017, or H.R. 906, was resubmitted to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform by Rep. Blake Farenthold. The bill would bring transparency to the asbestos bankruptcy trust system and is backed by several House Republicans.
  • Harris Martin
    The Delaware Supreme Court on Feb. 6, 2017 affirmed summary judgment for five asbestos defendants, concluding that the jury would not be able to reasonably infer the decedent's alleged exposure to the defendants' products based on the plaintiffs' evidence.
  • Harris Martin
    A California appellate court on Feb. 2, 2017 affirmed summary judgment in an asbestos exposure case. The plaintiff was unable to provide evidence connecting his alleged asbestos exposure to the defendants' products, the judge said.
  • Southeast Texas Record
    Dallas attorney Christine Biederman said it is a "travesty" that a district judge refused to unseal Russell Budd's testimony on the Terrell memo, which purportedly exposes how Baron & Budd coached clients in identifying asbestos exposure they may never have encountered. Biederman believes the testimony could be relevant to upcoming documentary "UnSettled."
  • Forbes
    P. David Yates
    A Texas judge refused to unseal testimony on the Terrell memo, which purportedly exposes how law firm Baron & Budd coached clients in identifying asbestos exposure they may have never encountered. Dallas attorney Christine Biederman called the judge's decision a "travesty" and believes the testimony could be relevant to upcoming asbestos litigation documentary "UnSettled."
  • Harris Martin
    The Delaware Superior Court awarded summary judgment to a defendant in a take-home asbestos case Feb. 2, 2017. The plaintiff failed to establish a special relationship between the defendant and the decedent, the judge said.
  • Harris Martin
    The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed a trial court's award of summary judgment to an asbestos defendant Jan. 26, 2017, ruling that the claims were in fact discharged through bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York
    The Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York announced its support for the Truth in Asbestos Trust Claims bill introduced in the New York State Senate. The legislation would reduce fraud by increasing transparency in the asbestos trust system, limiting the attempts for duplicative claims. 
  • Harris Martin
    A Delaware judge awarded summary judgment to an asbestos defendant Jan. 9, 2017, in agreement with a magistrate judge's position that the plaintiffs did not produce sufficient product identification evidence.
  • Harris Martin
    A Delaware judge recommended Dec. 30, 2016 that four asbestos defendants be awarded summary judgment citing the plaintiffs' failure to oppose defense motions and inability to produce sufficient evidence to establish exposure to the defendants' products. 
  • Alton Daily News
    Cole Lauterbach
    Madison County, Illinois, has been named a "Judicial Hellhole" by the American Tort Reform Association, thanks in part to its reputation as an asbestos litigation magnet and a plaintiff-friendly environment. According to the report, one judge scheduled 316 asbestos cases in one day.
  • New York Post
    Julia Marsh
    Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has already been convicted, but his legacy of fraud in the asbestos litigation system is still evident, according to the American Tort Reform Association's ranking of New York City as the third most plaintiff-friendly region in the United States. The top two "Judicial Hellholes" are St. Louis and California, according to the report.
  • Cook County Record
    Jonathan Bilyk
    Cook, Madison and St. Clair Counties together took the sixth spot on the American Tort Reform Association's "Judicial Hellholes" list, which ranks the most litigious and plaintiff-friendly regions in the United States. The report called Madison County the "Asbestos Litigation Capital," noting that 72 percent of civil cases filed in the county were asbestos-related--and only .05 percent of those lawsuits were filed by Madison County residents.
  • Penn Record
    Karen Kidd
    Several Pennsylvania courts made the American Tort Reform Association's Judicial Hellholes watch list, partially thanks to Allegheny County's record for being particularly favorable to asbestos plaintiffs. "For instance, after one judge issued a ruling that would have limited the defendant’s damages, the case was reassigned to a second judge who subjected the defendant to expansive liability," the press release about the report said.Pennsylvania's high court made the watch list, in part, for scandals leading to the resignations of two justices, while the Allegheny County court in Pittsburgh was cited for its reputation for ruling in favor of plaintiffs in asbestos cases.
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    Taryn Phaneuf
    On Dec. 14, 2016, the National Press Club held an in-progress showing of “Unsettled: Inside the Strange World of Asbestos Lawsuits," a film that follows an asbestos lawsuit filed against a car dealership and explores the inner workings of the asbestos litigation industry. “The film provides a vehicle to stimulate further discussion regarding the need for improvements to the civil justice system in the area of asbestos litigation,” said Mark Behrens, a defense attorney who appears in the documentary.
  • Legal Newsline
    Jessica Karmasek
    A new documentary titled “Unsettled: Inside the Strange World of Asbestos Lawsuits" premiered at an event at the National Press Club on Dec. 14, 2016. The film follows an asbestos lawsuit filed against a small-town California car dealership and explores the inner workings of the asbestos litigation industry. The dealership's attorneys have said the practices plaintiffs' attorneys use are a "shakedown" and that they victimize the public.
  • Harris Martin
    A Maryland judge dismissed asbestos-related claims on Nov. 15, 2016, ruling that allocating causation of personal injury between smoking and asbestos is impermissible, and adding that the plaintiffs were aware of the dangers of smoking.
  • Boston Globe
    Andrea Estes and Viveca Novak
    Federal prosecutors, among other agencies, are investigating potentially illegal campaign contributions by attorneys at the Boston-based Thorton Law Firm. The firm allegedly reimbursed its partners for political contributions by matching their donations with “bonuses”, the Boston Globe reports. “There are serious penalties for these violations. Here you potentially have multiple violations of the prohibition on contributions in the name of another, each one of which would be separately charged," said Brett Kappel, a Washington, D.C. based attorney who specializes in campaign finance.
  • Lexis Legal News
    Insurers say law firms collected millions of dollars by distributing proceeds from asbestos lawsuits. The insurers filed a lawsuit on Nov. 4, 2016 against five law firms, alleging that the attorneys helped clients evade insurance contract reimbursement provisions.
  • Mealey's
    John Crane Inc. filed a brief Nov. 11, 2016 arguing that Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett has no basis for its motions asking the Illinois federal court to dismiss various claims John Crane Inc. filed against it.
  • Law360
    Vince Sullivan
    Honeywell will have access to personal information of asbestos claimants, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross ruled, to investigate potential fraud.
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    Ann Maher
    Fair Courts Now, a group funded by asbestos plaintiffs' attorneys in Madison County, spent more than $1 million in advertising to counter the campaigns of Fifth District Appellate Court candidates John Barberis and James "Randy" Moore. "Fair Courts Now has nothing to do with fairness and everything to do with keeping Illinois’ status quo as one of the worst states in the nation for legal fairness," says Travis Akin, executive director of Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch.
  • Harris Martin
    A California jury reached a decision in favor of two asbestos defendants on Oct. 21, 2016. The jury rejected claims that a plaintiff developed personal injury as a result of exposure to asbestos-contaminated talcum powder.
  • Forbes
    Jessica Karmasek
    A major asbestos firm in Boston has been matching attorneys’ political contributions with bonuses, the Globe's Spotlight Team and Center for Responsive Politics found in an investigation. The political contributions equaled the bonuses Thornton Law Firm gave its attorneys.
  • Mealey's
    A federal judge cleared Crane Co. Oct. 24, 2016 of allegations that it destroyed evidence in an asbestos lawsuit, citing reasonable explanations for every apparent contradiction.
  • Law360
    Jody Godoy
    Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been disbarred by the Supreme Court following his convictions of honest services fraud, money laundering and extortion in late 2015. Silver, while serving as Assembly Speaker, had a quid pro quo agreement with a mesothelioma researcher in which he exchanged state research funds for referrals to his private law practice.
  • Southeast Texas Record
    Karen Kidd
    The rate of asbestos lawsuits being filed has declined in the U.S., a report by a consulting firm found. But Madison County, Illinois, still sees the most asbestos filings nationwide. "Like last year, we are seeing the same few plaintiffs’ counsel filing the most lawsuits," KCIC president Jonathan Terrell said.
  • Harris Martin
    The Coalition for Litigation Justice on Oct. 6, 2016 filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit, arguing that the "cumulative/any exposure" theory is the “unscientific engine driving the current testimony in asbestos litigation in which the experts fail in any way to account for the actual degree of exposure of the plaintiff from any specific activity.”
  • Harris Martin
    The Washington Supreme Court on Oct. 6, 2016 affirmed the dismissal of an asbestos wrongful death lawsuit, finding that the statute of limitations lapsed during the decedent's lifetime.
  • Harris Martin
    A California jury reached a verdict in favor of asbestos defendant Amcord Inc. The plaintiffs alleged take-home exposure, but the jury rejected those claims on Sept. 30, 2016.
  • Faces of Lawsuit Abuse
    40 years of asbestos lawsuits have bankrupted almost 100 companies, costing tens of thousands of jobs. It’s the longest running mass tort in history.
  • Daily Business Review
    Samantha Joseph
    A Florida appeals court reversed an $8 million verdict against R.J. Reynolds, Crane Co., and Hollingsworth & Vose Co. on an appeal in which the defendants disputed the link between their products and the plaintiff's personal injury, as well as the allowance of expert testimony.
  • Harris Martin
    A Texas federal court found an asbestos lawsuit to be time-barred because the plaintiff waited more than two years to file a complaint after discovering a causal connection between the alleged exposure and her personal injury.
  • Harris Martin
    A Missouri jury reached a defense verdict Sept. 9, 2016 in favor of Volkswagen, Ford, and Honeywell, rejecting take-home asbestos exposure claims.
  • Metro Sun East
    Karen Kidd
    Illinois trial lawyers contributed more than $32 million to state and local political campaigns over the last 15 years, a new study found. Most of the funds did not go through the Trial Lawyers Association. "Personal injury lawyers fuel the campaigns of judges who then make favorable rulings for their campaign donors which generates even more money for personal injury lawyers to pump into judicial campaigns," Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch Director Travis Akins said. "It is a vicious cycle that has to be broken."
  • New York Post
    Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver should go directly to jail, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara wrote in a letter to federal judge Valerie Caproni. Silver was sentenced to 12 years in jail for charges including his quid pro quo agreement with an asbestos researcher that involved state grants and payoffs to Silver from his private law firm.
  • Harris Martin
    A California jury rejected a plaintiff's claim that she developed a personal injury as a result of exposure to three defendants' products, reaching a defense verdict in favor of Kelly-Moore Paint Co., Union Carbide and Elementis.
  • Metro East Sun
    Kim Sunderland
    A study by legal watchdog group Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch found that municipal budgets in Madison and St. Clair Counties are hurt by excessive litigation costs. The two counties are the targets of lawsuit abuse, the organization says, because of questionably close relationships between judges and personal injury lawyers. In 2011, a Madison County judge was removed from overseeing the asbestos docket when she was exposed for granting plaintiffs' lawyers their choice of trial slots in close proximity to these lawyers making large donations to her campaign fund.
  • Forbes
    John O’Brien
    Some asbestos personal injury lawyers who eluded federal racketeering charges when the parent of Garlock Sealing Technologies settled its asbestos liability claims are back in the soup, as John Crane Inc. filed RICO charges against the Shein Law and Simon Greenstone firms on June 6, 2016.  JCI previously had sought to join the Garlock RICO suits. The JCI filings in a U.S. District Court in Illinois say the law firms systematically misrepresented and concealed evidence and committed fraud. (The two JCI complaints can be seen in this website’s Resource Center).
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    Ann Maher
    The Fifth District Appellate Court has been directed by the Illinois Supreme Court to hear an appeal by asbestos defendant Ford Motor Co. Ford's appeal questioned whether Madison County has personal jurisdiction in a lawsuit brought by Florida plaintiffs. Ford moved to dismiss the lawsuit last year, but its motion was denied, and the Fifth appellate court in February 2016 refused to hear Ford's appeal.
  • Law360
    Jody Godoy
    The U.S. Supreme Court suspended former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver from practicing in a May 16, 2016 ruling. Silver was disbarred in March by a New York appellate court, following his conviction on felony extortion charges.
  • Harris Martin
    The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois granted on May 10, 2016 a motion by defendant Crane Co. to not allow testimony by 12 plaintiffs' experts, saying the disclosures were "wholly and obviously deficient."
  • WRGB CBS News 6 Albany
    The DoJ hasn’t decided where some of the money from Sheldon Silver’s forfeiture payment and fine totaling approximately $7 million will go. The $5 million forfeiture payment will go to the Department of Justice Assets forfeiture fund, and can be used to compensate victims and support specific law enforcement efforts. It is unclear whether New York taxpayers will see any benefit from the money. 
  • Crain’s New York Business Journal
    Erik Engquist
    Former Speaker Sheldon Silver was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined $1.75 million -- in part for quietly granting state dollars to a mesothelioma researcher in exchange for claimant referrals to his law firm. "What if he’d blocked the ethics bill that forced him to reveal how much outside income he was making while speaker of the state Assembly?" author Engquist asks. ATRA's Darren McKinney comments on the opinion piece, referencing "the thieving, lying plaintiffs' lawyers Silver served obediently for 20 years as speaker, taking millions on the down-low from them to kill every reasonable bill aimed at reducing the crumbling former Empire State's excessive civil liability while seeing to it that the judicial appointments process was also cooked to favor liability-expanding candidates." 
  • NJ.com
    Matt Gray
    A former New Jersey attorney was sentenced to two years in prison after tampering with state documents to falsify the names of asbestos defendants in more than 100 lawsuits.
  • Harris Martin
    New York's high court ruled in an asbestos case that Ford USA should have been awarded summary judgment, reversing an order that originally denied a motion for it. The court ruled May 3, 2016 that the defendant could not be held "derivatively liable to the plaintiff under a theory of strict products liability" in this case.
  • Newsday
    John Riley and Nicole Fuller
    An asbestos patient referral scheme (involving a medical researcher, slush-fund state research grants, and asbestos plaintiff lawyer firm Weitz & Luxenberg) has led former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to be sentenced to 12 years in prison after being convicted on federal corruption charges.  In addition to the prison sentence, Silver reportedly will pay nearly $7 million in fines and the recovery of illegal kickback payments he received.
  • Newsday
    John Riley and Nicole Fuller
    Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined $1.75 million May 3, 2016 by U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni. Among other charges, Silver was convicted last year for quietly granting state dollars to a Columbia University mesothelioma researcher in exchange for referrals of asbestos claimants to his asbestos personal injury law firm.
  • Times Union
    Matthew Hamilton and Casey Seiler
    Sheldon Silver will be sentenced May 3, 2016 by U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni. Among other charges, Silver was found guilty last year of pushing state dollars to a Columbia University mesothelioma researcher in exchange for asbestos claimant referrals to his private law practice.
  • New York Times
    The Editorial Board
    Albany's reputation is further tarnished by the actions of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined $1.75 million on May 3, 2016. The editorial states Silver was found "guilty of selling his office. He was always silent when asked what he did to earn his huge lawyer’s paychecks, never admitting who got what favors for what money. He presided over a Capitol where sexual harassment was covered up and the people’s business was perverted by money." 
  • New York Times
    Benjamin Weiser and Vivian Yee
    Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined $1.75 million May 3, 2016 by U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni. Judge Caproni observed that the state's citizens suffered “incalculable, intangible harm.” She added that the corruption “makes the public very cynical.” After listing some of his crimes, the Judge said, “Mr. Silver, those are not the actions of a basically honest person.”
  • New York Law Journal
    Mark Hamblett
    Documents unsealed April 15, 2016 suggest former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had extramarital affairs with two women, and favors associated with his affairs suggest further potential abuse of his office as Assembly leader. 
  • New York Law Journal
    Mark Hamblett
    U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's sentence should be the highest ever for a New York legislator. Prosecutors are calling for Silver to serve a potential sentence of 22 - 27 years, in addition to paying millions in fines.
  • Lexis Legal News
    A Maryland jury returned a defense verdict in favor of Wallace & Gale Settlement Trust Feb. 24, 2016 after finding that the plaintiff was substantially more exposed to other products.
  • Harris Martin
    The Supreme Court in Delaware allowed a motion to dismiss, reversing a lower court decision by ruling on April 18, 2016 that simply registering to do business in Delaware is not “consent to general jurisdiction.”
  • New York Post
    Julia Marsh
    Columbia University may have received millions of dollars in donations from a mesothelioma law firm after Dr. Robert Taub referred patients to Simmons Hanley Conroy, court papers suggest. Last year, Dr. Taub admitted to a quid pro quo agreement in which he exchanged asbestos patient referrals for New York state research funds.
  • Newsday
    John Riley
    U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's sentence should be the highest ever for a New York legislator potentially 22-27 years, plus millions in fines. “The sentence imposed on Silver should reflect the unprecedented magnitude, duration, and scope of his abuse of power,” the prosecutors said. 
  • New York Times
    Benjamin Weiser
    Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver apologized before Judge Valerie Caproni, who will sentence him next month, saying he "failed the people of New York" and hurt his constituents. Prosecutors are asking for a prison sentence much longer than the 10 years recommended by the court's probation office. 
  • New York Post
    New York Post Editorial Board
    U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says Sheldon Silver's sentence should be the highest ever for a New York legislator. The New York Post editorial cheers on Bharara and calls for an end to corruption and the "politics of self-interest" in New York state government.
  • Newsday
    Emily Ngo
    Four candidates are seeking to fill the seat vacated by former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was convicted on corruption charges in 2015. Candidates are campaigning with slogans like "Clean Up the Mess" and "reform in Albany."
  • Newsday
    John Riley
    Documents unsealed April 15, 2016 suggest former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had extramarital affairs with two women. Prosecutors allege that one of the women lobbied Silver for clients "on a regular basis", and he may have helped the other secure a state job "over which he exercised a particularly high level of control." 
  • Harris Martin
    A federal court in Missouri on April 13 granted motions filed by 24 defendants to dismiss an asbestos exposure case on the grounds that the plaintiff lacks personal jurisdiction. The motions were unopposed as the plaintiff did not respond.
  • Associated Industries of Missouri
    Missouri's House and Civil Proceedings Committee held a hearing on House Bill 2438, legislation that would increase transparency in asbestos litigation, on April 13, 2016. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Kevin Corlew, and the committee heard testimony for passage from several legal and business advocates.
  • Harris Martin
    Utah Governor Gary Hebert has signed into a law legislation to reduce fraudulent claims and increase transparency in asbestos litigation. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Brad R. Wilson and Sen. J. Stuart Adams.
  • Louisiana Record
    Karen Kidd
    Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch has expressed its support for Louisiana House Bill 536, which would increase transparency in asbestos litigation. "There is ample evidence that many personal injury law firms specializing in asbestos litigation are gaming the current system, which operates with very little oversight," the organization's executive director, Melissa Landry, said.
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    Madison-St. Clair Record Editorial Board
    Although asbestos plaintiffs' attorney and Illinois Trail Lawyer Association President John D. Cooney said last year that asbestos cases only represent "a fraction" of lawsuits in Madison County, that fraction is large--75 percent, the editorial states. Legislation to block abuse of the asbestos litigation system in Illinois is needed.
  • Harris Martin
    A federal court in Florida dismissed an asbestos-containing talc exposure lawsuit April 8, 2016, on the grounds that the plaintiffs failed to identify the misrepresentation they alleged against the defendants.
  • Harris Martin
    The U.S. District Court for Western North Carolina affirmed a defense verdict April 4, 2016, denying the plaintiffs' post-trial motion for a new trial. The plaintiffs requested separation of proximate cause and intervening cause before the trial, then identified it as an error, the court ruled.
  • Forbes
    Jessica Karmasek
    Following former speaker Sheldon Silver's conviction last year, some Democratic state assembly members have introduced a bill to increase transparency in asbestos litigation and bankruptcy trusts. Robin Schimminger is among eight Democrats sponsoring the bill, A 5978. The litigation climate under Silver's speakership would not have allowed such a bill to be considered. 
  • Illinois Mirror
    Eric Kohn
    Illinois native Eric Kohn discusses Madison County's asbestos docket and "judicial hellhole" history and disputes Capitol Fax commentary by Rich Miller. "There’s no good reason for Madison County taxpayers to foot the bill for their courts to be the preferred asbestos case venue of the nation, serving mostly the interests of lawyers for other states and plaintiffs from other states," Kohn writes.
  • Illinois Business Daily
    Although there was a slight decline in the number of asbestos exposure cases filed in Madison County, Illinois in 2015, the state still has a high rate of such lawsuits, and most of them are filed by out-of-state plaintiffs. “I think cases that are heard in Madison County should have some relationship to Madison County. People shouldn’t be bringing their cases from different cities, states and even countries to Madison County. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever," said John Pastuovic, president of the Illinois Civil Justice League.
  • Palmetto Business Daily
    Pro-business Sen. Shane Massey is the new South Carolina Senate Majority Leader. He actively condemns lawsuit abuse, calling it "a detriment to our state's economy." Sen. Massey recently sponsored legislation to increase transparency in asbestos personal injury claims.
  • CBS 6 Albany
    Originally scheduled for April 13, 2016, Sheldon Silver's sentencing has been postponed again to May 12, 2016. 
  • House Bill 403, The Asbestos Litigation Transparency Act, was passed by the Utah Legislature and then signed into law on March 31, 2016, by Governor Gary Herbert. The new law, effective May 10, 2016, is designed to curb “double dipping” of asbestos claims by providing transparency in asbestos litigation and trust claims. The law should reduce fraud and manipulation of evidence by asbestos plaintiffs’ attorneys. The bill signing by Governor Herbert comes only eight days after Governor Bill Haslam signed similar legislation in Tennessee.
  • Harris Martin
    A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling affirmed summary judgment for shipbuilders March 31, 2016, in an asbestos exposure case, rejecting the plaintiffs' "every exposure" testimony and ruling that ships are not products under strict products liability.
  • Digital Journal
    U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform
    Lisa Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, praises Utah for passing HB 403, a bill creating transparency in asbestos claim filings with bankruptcy trusts. She said in a statement that the legislation "will ensure that companies and bankruptcy trusts both pay their fair share of recoveries to claimants. It will also mean that Utah companies won’t be the targets of wrongful lawsuits." Gov. Gary Herbert signed the bill into law March 31, 2016.
  • Law360
    Plaintiffs in an asbestos exposure case were unable to prove that asbestos on U.S. Navy ships cause the decedent's death or that the ships in question were "products," the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled.
  • Newsday
    John Riley
    Manhattan U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni will be deciding former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's corruption sentence. The 71-year-old has been disbarred and stripped of his political title and faces up to 130 years in prison. Among other convictions, he used his political power to pocket millions of dollars in law firm referral fees in a quid pro quo agreement with an asbestos injury researcher.
  • Harris Martin
    A federal judge in western North Carolina has placed a stay on four RICO lawsuits filed by Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC against plaintiffs' firms. The lawsuits will be settled pending a final order on the plan for Garlock's parent company, EnPro Industries Inc., to place $480 million into an asbestos bankruptcy trust to cover all current and future asbestos claims.
  • Harris Martin
    The U.S. District Court for Southern California awarded summary judgment to two defendants in an asbestos exposure lawsuit March 28, 2016, ruling that plaintiffs were unable to provide enough evidence to prove that the defendant's products caused the exposure.
  • Wall Street Journal
    Jacob Gershman
    In addition to being stripped of his political office, former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has officially lost his law license. The action by the New York bar was in response to Silver's conviction of corruption charges last year when the federal court found him guilty of exchanging favors with a mesothelioma researcher, pocketing millions of dollars in asbestos personal injury claimant referral fees.
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    Word about Madison County's plaintiff-friendly courts has spread, and it has set out a "welcome mat for asbestos litigants" from outside of Illinois. About three out of every four cases filed are asbestos cases, but only six percent of the asbestos cases filed were in-state residents, and only six plaintiffs were Madison County residents. "We don't want Madison County’s reputation to be the joke of nation’s legal system," the Madison Record Editorial Board writes.
  • Harris Martin
    The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama awarded Crane Co., Goulds and Fluor Daniel summary judgment in an asbestos exposure case March 24, 2016. The plaintiff's lawyer was unable to prove the decedent's exposure to the defendants' products, the opinion said, and the companies are not liable for product they did not sell.
  • Harris Martin
    An asbestos case was dismissed March 23, 2016 by the U.S. District Court for the Southern Illinois District, for lack of personal jurisdiction. The fact that the defendant's products were found in the state does not automatically grant jurisdiction in St. Clair County, the court said. Plaintiffs will be allowed to re-file in the proper venue, and the case was remanded to St. Clair Circuit Court.
  • Legal Newsline
    Jessica Karmasek
    A federal judge has placed a stay on four RICO lawsuits filed by Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC against plaintiffs' firms. The lawsuits will be settled pending a final order for Garlock's plan for its parent company, EnPro Industries Inc., to place $480 million into an asbestos bankruptcy trust to cover all current and future asbestos claims.
  • US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform
    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauds Tennessee for passing reforms to fight fraud in asbestos litigation. The law increases transparency in the asbestos bankruptcy trust and litigation systems and helps ensure that funds are directed to injured, rather than uninjured, claimants.
  • Harris Martin
    Five asbestos defendants were awarded summary judgment March 22, 2016 by a New York federal court. The court ruled that plaintiffs did not establish connection between the alleged exposure and a time, place or company.
  • Harris Martin
    A California federal court dismissed most of the claims in an asbestos lawsuit March 23, 2016. The exclusive remedy provision under the California Workers' Compensation Act bars the claims, the court determined.
  • Senate Bill 2062, The Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Transparency Act, which includes the Asbestos Claims Priorities Act, was passed by the General Assembly and then signed into law on March 23, 2016, by Governor Bill Haslam. The new law, effective July 1, 2016, is designed to provide transparency in asbestos bankruptcy trust claims, reduce fraud and manipulation of evidence, give priority to physically harmed claimants, and help preserve resources for future physically harmed claimants.
  • Overlawyered
    Walter Olson
    EnPro Industries, the owner of Garlock Sealing Technologies, reportedly has reached an agreement with representatives of current and future asbestos personal injury claimants. The company will commit $480 million into a bankruptcy trust. 
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    Heather Isringhausen Gvillo
    Asbestos exposure lawsuits comprised 72 percent of the 1,698 legal filings in Madison County, Illinois last year. Only six of the asbestos cases were filed on behalf of Madison County residents. The disproportion is said to be due largely to "venue shopping", a common practice in which plaintiffs' attorneys shop around for jurisdictions likely to give them a favorable verdict.
  • U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform
    U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform
    The Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is necessary to reduce fraud in the asbestos litigation system, statistics have shown. The plaintiffs' bar's claims about privacy have been rejected by experts, the U.S. Chamber notes.
  • Mesothelioma Research News
    Margarida Azevedo
    The Tennessee state legislature passed House Bill 2234, the Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Transparency Act. The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform has expressed its support for the legislation. "This bill will ensure that companies and bankruptcy trusts both pay their fair share of recoveries to claimants. It will also help Tennessee manufacturing companies and protect jobs by ensuring that no more companies are bankrupted by abusive claims," observed Lisa Rickard, president of the organization. (HB 2234 was merged with SB2062 and sent to the governor's desk).
  • The Huffington Post
    Sara Warner
    The Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC case is leaving a legacy, including allegations of racketeering against high-profile law firms, which author Sara Warner says have created a "real scandal." The Garlock case has exposed widespread and rampant abuse of the asbestos bankruptcy and litigation systems by plaintiffs' attorneys.
  • Legal Reader
    Consuella Pachico
    A California appeals court agreed with a lower court jury finding and ruled that BASF Catalysts is not liable for a former auto body shop worker's claimed personal injury from asbestos exposure. The court affirmed Alameda County's summary judgment based on insufficient evidence.
  • Reuters
    EnPro Industries, the owner of Garlock Sealing Technologies, reportedly has reached an agreement with representatives of current and future asbestos personal injury claimants. The company will commit $480 million into a bankruptcy trust. During the Garlock bankruptcy proceedings, widespread abuse of evidence by personal injury lawyers was uncovered.
  • Harris Martin
    EnPro Industries, the owner of Garlock Sealing Technologies, reportedly has reached an agreement with representatives of current and future asbestos personal injury claimants. During the Garlock bankruptcy proceedings, widespread abuse of evidence by personal injury lawyers was uncovered.
  • Law360
    Kat Greene
    EnPro Industries, the owner of Garlock Sealing Technologies, reportedly has reached an agreement with representatives of current and future asbestos personal injury claimants. The company will commit $480 million into a bankruptcy trust. This action will permanently resolve claims and bring Garlock "full, complete and permanent relief from asbestos litigation," EnPro CEO Steve Macadam said. During the Garlock bankruptcy proceedings, evidence of widespread abuse of evidence by personal injury lawyers was found to have occurred.
  • Business Wire
    Press release announcing that EnPro Industries, the owner of Garlock Sealing Technologies, has reached an agreement with representatives of current and future asbestos personal injury claimants. The company will commit funds to a bankruptcy trust to fully and permanently resolve claims.
  • Law360
    Kali Hays
    A California appeals court agreed with a lower court jury finding and ruled that BASF Catalysts is not liable for a former auto body shop worker's personal injury from asbestos exposure. The court affirmed Alameda County's summary judgment based on insufficient evidence.
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    Travis Akin
    Illinois is frequently the target of "venue shopping", when personal injury lawyers shop around for a court jurisdiction they think is likely to rule in their favor, says Travis Akin of Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch. The practice (common in asbestos lawsuits in the Metro East) hurts business, he says. Akin encourages lawmakers to embrace venue reform that would curtail the practice.
  • Harris Martin
    A Wisconsin court awarded summary judgment to a defendant March 10, 2016, finding that the manufacturer could not be held liable for asbestos-containing materials affixed to its product after manufacturing.
  • New York Times
    Benjamin Weiser
    Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will be sentenced on the same day as former New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Both former politicians were convicted in public corruption trials last year. Silver was found guilty for having a quid pro quo agreement with a mesothelioma researcher and Silver's firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, in which Silver gave state money to the researcher and then received law firm bonuses for referring asbestos injury patients to the firm.
  • Legal Newsline
    Jessica Karmasek
    A recent California appeals court decision underscores the state's title as the No. 1 "Judicial Hellhole", says Kim Stone, president of the Civil Justice Association of California. In the case, the court ruled against Kaiser Gypsum Company Inc. and awarded plaintiffs almost $4 million just in punitive damages. “We already have known problems with asbestos trust issues, with the lack of transparency," Stone says. "We have a civil justice system that is found to be the least fair in the country and decisions like this support that belief.” 
  • American Insurance Association
    Steve Suchil of the American Insurance Association expressed his appreciation to the Utah legislature for passing House Bill 403, which would increase transparency in asbestos bankruptcy trusts and litigation. Suchil urged Gov. Herbert to sign the legislation into law. "By requiring disclosure of all trust claims, [the legislation] will deter fraudulent and duplicative claims and ensure that asbestos exposure history provided by claimants to a particular trust is consistent with what they have provided to other trusts and to a court in any civil proceeding," Suchil said.
  • U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform
    Recent reports sponsored by the Institute for Legal Reform have pointed out inconsistencies in the asbestos litigation and bankruptcy systems, specifically related to claims against Garlock Sealing Technologies. The report "Insights & Inconsistencies: Lessons from the Garlock Trust Claims" found that "69 percent of claimants did not list every place of employment at which they alleged exposure with every trust." Also, "Fifteen percent of claimants did not list specific products or brands to which they alleged exposure, and 55 percent of claimants had date discrepancies across claim forms."
  • Street Insider
    Garlock Sealing Technologies and other involved parties have agreed to postpone an Asbestos Claims Resolution Process (ACRP) hearing that was to be held March 10, 2016 in order to allow parties to focus on negotiation of consensual settlement.
  • U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform
    The Utah House Business and Labor Committee voted to advance H.B. 403, an asbestos transparency bill, to the full House. "This bill is designed to ensure those who have asbestos exposure or had it in the past get the compensation they deserve," said Rep. Brad Wilson, the bill's sponsor.
  • American Security News Reports
    The American G.I. Forum of California expressed its support for the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act in a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein. “We believe S. 357 will help protect veterans and others by curbing fraud and preserving bankruptcy asbestos trust resources for future veterans’ claims,” the letter said. The legislation is currently pending in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • Harris Martin
    A Louisiana federal court said Feb. 25, 2016 it will not relinquish jurisdiction over an asbestos exposure case. The court ruled that the "removal was procedurally proper in all respects."
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    When Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC filed RICO suits against law firms, defendants called foul play, the Madison-St. Clair Record writes. "The bested bullies have responded, whining to the judge that it's not fair for plaintiffs to have the tables turned on them and be treated as defendants. Simon Greenstone can dish it out, but they can't seem to take it," the authors observe.
  • Arizona Business Daily
    Data privacy expert and former Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna speaks out in support of the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act. McKenna observes that the Act would open up communication between the tort system and the currently secretive trusts as well as protecting the sensitive personal information of trust claimants. “There really is no issue in regard to identity theft … and no risk that people’s confidentiality would be compromised because confidential medical records would not be allowed to be disclosed,” McKenna said.
  • Mealey's
    Registering to do business in the state of Connecticut does not establish general jurisdiction, an appellate judge ruled on Feb. 18, 2016, dismissing an asbestos exposure lawsuit.
  • Legal Newsline
    John O'Brien
    Dallas law firm Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against John Crane Inc. in response to racketeering claims. John Crane Inc. is looking to join a Garlock Sealing Technologies Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) lawsuit against the law firm.
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    Following missed deadlines and chaos, a U.S. district judge canceled an asbestos exposure trial a plaintiff filed in Madison County, Illinois. The plaintiff lived in Alaska and worked in Kansas, in California, and on Navy ships. Benjamin Wilson of HeplerBroom for defendant Crane Co. noted the lack of "any connection whatsoever between plaintiff, his alleged claims, and the state of Illinois."
  • Arizona Business Daily
    A recently released U.S. Chamber-sponsored report that found inconsistencies in the asbestos bankruptcy trust system could help to bolster the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act, which is currently pending in the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. The report analyzed a subset of asbestos trust claim information recently made available through the Garlock bankruptcy litigation. The pending legislation would "discourage fraud and abuse in the asbestos compensation system while protecting the sensitive information of claimants by shielding their medical records and their full Social Security numbers from disclosure," according to Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who sponsored the legislation.
  • Newsday
    John Riley
    The federal judge who presided over the trial of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will unseal court filings March 2, 2016 that were not allowed as evidence at trial. 
  • U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform
    James L. Stengel and C. Anne Malik of Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe LLP
    Asbestos trust claim information recently made public through the Garlock Sealing Technologies bankruptcy litigation and information requests has been found to show that plaintiff lawyers suppressed evidence. Authors Stengel and Malik reviewed a subset of this public evidence and found a pattern of inconsistent exposure and workplace claims. The report concludes that the lack of oversight of the trust claims system creates a high potential for fraud and abuse and calls for immediate reform of the process.
  • The Hill
    Lydia Wheeler
    A U.S. Chamber-sponsored report analyzing a subset of asbestos trust claim information recently made available through the Garlock bankruptcy litigation has been found to show that plaintiff lawyers regularly suppressed evidence and provided conflicting evidence. Lisa Rickard, ILR’s president, observed, “This study shows a system without accountability and demonstrates the urgent need for external oversight and reform of the asbestos bankruptcy trusts."
  • U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform
    A report sponsored by the U.S. Chamber analyzing asbestos trust claim information from the Garlock bankruptcy litigation has been found to show plaintiff lawyers regularly suppressed evidence and provided conflicting evidence. Lisa Rickard, ILR’s president, commented, “This study shows a system without accountability and demonstrates the urgent need for external oversight and reform of the asbestos bankruptcy trusts."
  • ABC News 10 Albany
    Even though he has been convicted of criminal offenses and is facing the potential of decades in prison, former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will receive $79,222.68 per year in a state pension, the state comptroller's office announced. 
  • Law360
    Brandon Lowrey
    Union Carbide is not liable in a $20 million asbestos exposure lawsuit, a California jury said on Feb. 8, 2016. Jurors found that the claimant had failed to establish that he was exposed to the manufacturer's asbestos or that it had caused his personal injury.
  • New York Times
    Benjamin Weiser
    At a hearing on Feb. 11, 2016, in Federal District Court in Manhattan, prosecutors sought the release of sealed information from the Sheldon Silver trial. Judge Valerie Caproni heard legal arguments from both sides about the materials, and her ruling and redacted materials may be forthcoming in the next several weeks. Also, the New York Times and NBCUniversal filed papers asking for the materials to be made public. At issue is information related to non-parties of the case, and the potential impact of the information on post-verdict motions and Silver’s sentencing and appeal.
  • Harris Martin
    On Feb. 5, 2016, a magistrate judge for U.S. District Court in Delaware recommended denial of a plaintiff's motion to remand an asbestos exposure case. The defendants established jurisdiction for federal officer removal, the judge ruled, and the U.S. Navy had signed off on specifications and exerted an amount of control over design and manufacturing.
  • CBS New York
    U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who prosecuted former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver last year, has vowed to take down corruption in Albany, which he says has “a political system that has broken down.” Silver had a quid pro quo arrangement with a prominent cancer researcher in which he exchanged state funds for asbestos patient referrals to his law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, pocketing millions of dollars.
  • Louisiana Record
    Vimbai Chikomo
    Louisiana Association of Business and Industry has voiced its support for the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act. The legislation is designed to bring more transparency to the asbestos litigation system. It moved to the U.S. Senate after passing in the House by a 211 - 188 vote.
  • Pennsylvania Record
    Emma Gallimore
    Pennsylvania's Fairness in Claims and Transparency Act, introduced by Rep. Warren Kampf, is designed to increase transparency in asbestos claims by requiring plaintiffs to disclose exposure and claims information. The legislation is before the House Judiciary Committee. “In my mind, the bill is fundamentally about trying to implement a Fair Share Act for this particular type of case,” Rep. Kampf said.
  • Palmetto Business Daily Reports
    A U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing is scheduled for Feb. 3, 2016 on the Furthering Asbestos Trust Claim Transparency (FACT) Act. The South Carolina Civil Justice Coalition (SCCJC) has voiced its support for the bill. "...We are hopeful that the Senate will pass the FACT Act, and bring some fairness and transparency to the overall system, and resolve the conflict that currently exists between the trusts and state civil courts," SCCJC Executive Director Earl Hunter said.
  • Mealey's
    A South Carolina federal judge ruled on Jan. 27, 2016 that a plaintiff did not have enough evidence to show that third-party exposure to Crane Co.'s asbestos-containing parts was inevitable.
  • Mealey’s
    Defendant Boeing told the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Jan. 28, 2016 that it adhered to government specifications and should not have to show the military rejected warnings of asbestos exposure.
  • Mealey’s
    Defendant CertainTeed Corp. urged the Georgia Supreme Court Feb. 1, 2016 not to impose duty to warn household members who never encountered the asbestos-containing products in question.
  • Illinois Business Daily
    The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a Feb. 3, 2016 hearing on asbestos trust transparency and the FACT Act, reform legislation that has already passed the House. "Congress must act now to increase transparency and combat fraud within the asbestos-settlement system," observed the bill’s sponsor, Senator Jeff Flake.  Illinois Civil Justice League President John Pastuovic said, "Passing the FACT Act is critical to the integrity of the bankruptcy settlement trust."  The bill prohibits disclosure of claimants’ Social Security and medical information.
  • Law360
    Brandon Lowrey
    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear a challenge to a $2.3 million asbestos personal injury verdict. The question is whether or not certain product liability defendants are allowed to ask the jury to decide if products were "unreasonably dangerous."
  • Harris Martin
    A U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 3, 2016 on the “Need for Transparency in the Asbestos Trusts” and the Furthering Asbestos Trust Claim Transparency (FACT) Act. The legislation would increase transparency to prevent fraud in asbestos litigation and has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Harris Martin
    A South Carolina federal court awarded Crane Co. summary judgment Jan. 27, 2016, ruling that there was no evidence the defendant incorporated asbestos-containing material into its products.
  • West Virginia Record
    Vimbai Chikomo
    The West Virginia Business & Industry Council has voiced its support for the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act, designed to bring more transparency to the asbestos litigation system. The bill was scheduled to be heard in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Jan. 29, 2016 after passing in the House of Representatives by a 211 - 188 vote.
  • Manhattan Institute
    James R. Copland
    Asbestos lawsuits and other mass torts are a hugely profitable business for personal injury lawyers. The 2016 edition of Trial Lawyers Inc. focuses on the cycle of class action and mass tort litigation that is manipulated by plaintiff lawyers – spending millions on advertising, generating millions of plaintiffs, spending millions in campaign contributions to put their friends in office, and pocketing millions themselves. In 2015 some 46 million was spent by these lawyers on advertising for asbestos clients. The leaders of Sheldon Silver’s former law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, are labelled the asbestos presidents of Trial Lawyers Inc.
  • Mealey’s
    Gasket maker John Crane Inc. has filed papers in bankruptcy court to join the racketeering case of Garlock Sealing Technologies against two asbestos personal injury law firms, Simon Greenstone in Dallas and Shein Law Center in Philadelphia.
  • Forbes
    Daniel Fisher
    Gasket maker John Crane Inc. has filed papers in bankruptcy court to join the racketeering case of Garlock Sealing Technologies against two asbestos personal injury law firms, Simon Greenstone in Dallas and Shein Law Center in Philadelphia. The federal bankruptcy judge in the Garlock case described the asbestos lawyers’ double-dipping filings as a process “infected by the manipulation of exposure evidence.” Both John Crane and Garlock faced litigation where plaintiffs’ asbestos lawyers were concealing exposure evidence during the trials.  
  • Legal Newsline
    John O'Brien
    John Crane Inc. requested Jan. 25, 2016 for permission from a federal court to join a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) lawsuit, first filed by Garlock Sealing Technologies last year. Crane is naming the asbestos plaintiff firm Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, and Crane's motion argues that it was also harmed by the firm's alleged fraudulent activity.
  • Harris Martin
    A Kentucky appellate court awarded summary judgment to Fluor Enterprises Inc. on Jan. 22, 2016 in an asbestos exposure case. The court ruled that the plaintiff's expert witness did not establish that Fluor owed the decedent a standard of care, and that contemporary standards of care could not be retroactively imposed.
  • Law360
    Gasket maker John Crane Inc. has filed papers in bankruptcy court to join the racketeering case of Garlock Sealing Technologies against two asbestos personal injury law firms, Simon Greenstone in Dallas and Shein Law Center in Philadelphia. Both John Crane and Garlock faced litigation where evidence shows plaintiffs’ asbestos lawyers were concealing exposure evidence during the trials.
  • Mealey's
    A New York federal judge ruled Jan. 21, 2016 (in Cheyanne Holzworth et. al. v. Alfa Laval Inc., et. al.) that testimony saying a man worked with a certain product was not sufficient to keep a defendant in an asbestos lawsuit.
  • New York Times
    Benjamin Weiser
    Attorneys for Sheldon Silver are seeking acquittal or a new trial following Silver's conviction Nov. 30, 2016 on all counts in a corruption case. The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York will respond to Silver’s filing with its own submission.
  • Mealey's
    The North Dakota Supreme Court issued an opinion on Jan. 14, 2016 finding an employer not liable regarding notification of household members of potential risks of asbestos exposure.
  • Harris Martin
    Plaintiff Vincent Gatto's asbestos claims were ruled to be time-barred by a Pennsylvania appellate court on Jan. 12, 2016. The issue of whether or not his 2003 asbestos-related diagnosis was accurate was ruled to be no longer relevant, 
  • Harris Martin
    The U.S. District Court for Southern Illinois agreed with defendants' unopposed motions to dismiss asbestos exposure claims of John Clark on Jan. 6, 2016. The claims failed to show that the court had personal jurisdiction, the court noted.
  • Rubber & Plastics News Report
    Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC agreed to a postponement of an asbestos hearing, originally scheduled for early January 2016, to late February. The delay, related to the Asbestos Claims Resolution Process, was requested to allow time for the future and current asbestos claimant representatives and Garlock to negotiate terms of the co-claims resolution process.
  • Legal Newsline
    Jessica Karmasek
    A report published in November 2015 analyzing data released in the Garlock Sealing Technologies bankruptcy trust proceedings further documents the "systematic nature" of suppressing evidence in asbestos litigation and trust claims by plaintiffs' lawyers. The review of Garlock's cases where Crane Co. was a co-defendant, is further "legitimizing" concerns about abuse of evidence and the need for transparency in the asbestos claims system. The authors are former Delaware Judge Peggy Ableman and consultants Peter Kelso and Marc Scarcella.
  • Harris Martin
    The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act Jan. 8, 2016 by a vote of 211 - 188, and now moves to Senate consideration. The legislation would increase transparency in asbestos injury claims. The full text of the FACT Act was amended into the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act, H.R.1927.
  • U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform
    U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform President Lisa Rickard commended the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act. The legislation would increase transparency in the asbestos litigation and bankruptcy claim systems, ensuring that "class action lawsuits help truly injured individuals and are not used to line plaintiffs’ lawyers’ pockets at the expense of consumers." The FACT Act was passed by the House as part of H.R. 1927, the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act.
  • Legal Newsline
    Vimbai Chikomo
    The Illinois Supreme Court ruled against a plaintiff after finding the Folta v. Ferro Engineering case did not meet the Workers' Compensation Act and Workers' Occupational Disease Act time limitations. The plaintiff was diagnosed with asbestos personal injury 16 years after the 25-year limitation expired.
  • The Public
    Wayne Barrett
    New York political writer Wayne Barrett describes the long history of Sheldon Silver as political power broker, his long relationship with New York Court of Appeals chief judge Jonathan Lippmann (whom Silver convinced Governor Patterson to name to the states high court), and Lippmann’s naming of Supreme Court justice Sherry Heitler to the Appellate Division (Heitler reinstated punitive damages for asbestos cases, to the great benefit of Silver’s longtime law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg). Barrett also describes how Daniel Chill was “the mystery man at the heart of the criminal case against Silver.” Chill, reportedly ran interference between Dr. Robert Taub and Silver, setting up the Weitz & Luxenberg asbestos patient referrals and greasing Silver’s state grants to Taub.
  • Alton Telegraph
    Mark Fitton
    Madison County has been ranked fifth on ATRA's "judicial hellholes" list, primarily because of its asbestos docket. The report states, “Madison County is still home to about a third of all asbestos lawsuits brought in the entire United States. And that more than 90 percent of these cases brought in the county come from out-of-state plaintiffs -- some from as far away as Puerto Rico."
  • Law360
    Kali Hays
    Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC is joining with a group of future asbestos claimants, seeking to show its reorganization plan does not violate bankruptcy laws as current plaintiffs have claimed. Future claimants should be able to vote on the plan, the defendant says. Garlock's reorganization plan includes a $358 million settlement with future claimants. (When federal bankruptcy judge George Hodges found indications of widespread misrepresentations of evidence by current plaintiffs' lawyers, he greatly reduced the size of Garlock's bankruptcy trust claims settlement fund).
  • Bluefield Daily Telegraph
    After more than ten years of carrying ATRA's "Judicial Hellhole" label, West Virginia has finally been removed from the Hellholes list. This was partially due to the state passing reform legislation increasing transparency for asbestos trust claims.
  • American Security News
    The Texas Coalition of Veterans Organizations (TCVO) calls for the passage of the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act, requiring asbestos trusts to report claims and their amounts to bankruptcy courts on a quarterly basis. (Under the current system, plaintiffs' attorneys are able to file claims with multiple trusts with little oversight, meaning claims can be manipulated and may be unsubstantiated. Future claimants, often veterans, can lose out.) “Enacting trust-transparency legislation in Texas and at the federal level will discourage 'double dipping' and help preserve financial resources for military veterans,” says Morgan Little, chairman of TCVO.
  • Alton Daily News
    Dave Dahl
    Madison County, Illinois has been ranked the fifth worst Judicial Hellhole in the U.S., according to ATRA's 2015/2016 report. Travis Akin, executive director of Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch, says the high ranking is primarily a consequence of the county's loose venue rulings on its asbestos docket.
  • Daily Journal
    Kim Stone
    Kim Stone, president of the Civil Justice Association of California, describes how the current asbestos litigation system involves two tracks: The confidential trust system and the public lawsuit system. Stone calls for increased transparency in the trust system through the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act "to improve fairness not only for asbestos defendants, but also for asbestos plaintiffs."
  • Harris Martin
    Defendant Fluor Corp. was awarded summary judgment Dec. 15, 2015 by a California appellate court in an asbestos case. The court ruled that the evidence the plaintiff provided did not sujfficiently support the employee's alleged exposure claims.Defendant Fluor Corp. was awarded summary judgment Dec. 15, 2015 by a California appellate court in an asbestos case. The court ruled that the evidence the plaintiff provided did not sufficiently support the employee's alleged exposure claims.
  • Law360
    Matt Chiappardi
    A Delaware bankruptcy judge presiding over a case against Energy Future Holdings Corp. refused to certify claimants who allege asbestos exposure but have not shown signs of personal injury. “We don't have a pending asbestos injury lawsuit here, manifested or unmanifested," he opined. "To allow a class proof of claim under the facts and circumstances of this case would be unprecedented."
  • Palmetto Business Daily
    The need for legislation to increase transparency in asbestos litigation is more evident than ever after the conviction of Sheldon Silver. The South Carolina Civil Justice Association supports the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency Act, which would require asbestos trusts to report claims to bankruptcy courts on a quarterly basis.As House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte noted that because of the "fraud in the asbestos trust system and duplicitous or conflicting claims," those claimants who are legitimate "do not always receive the relief they deserve." 
  • American Security News
    The Reserve Officers Association-Department (ROA) of Indiana calls for the passage of the HR 526, the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act. The legislation would require asbestos trusts to report claims and their amounts to bankruptcy courts on a quarterly basis. (Under the current system, plaintiffs' attorneys are able to file claims with multiple trusts with little oversight, meaning claims can be manipulated may be unsubstantiated. Future claimants—often veterans—can lose out). "We were informed that lawyers' fees in some cases were as high as 40 percent," Daniel Oates, president of ROA of Indiana, said.
  • Legal Newsline
    Anna Aguillard
    Tom Stebbins, executive director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, says the conviction of Sheldon Silver has brought the dawn of a "new day in Albany." Stebbins draws a connection between Silver's quid pro quo agreement with asbestos researcher Dr. Robert Taub and NYCAL's recent No. 1 ATRA Judicial Hellhole ranking.
  • Harris Martin
    A California appellate court heard arguments regarding the appeal of a defense verdict in an asbestos case, in which jurors originally favored subcontractor E.F. Brady Company Inc. in October 2013. The plaintiff has claimed exposure to asbestos during remodeling of the subcontractor's original work that occurred two decades before the alleged exposure.
  • New York Post
    Julia Marsh
    Weitz & Luxenberg, the private law firm that former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver worked for, has experienced a 17 percent decline in new cases. An unnamed defense attorney observed that the drop could be a result of doctors shying away from the law firm because of its repeated referrals from Dr. Robert Taub, the cancer researcher who had a quid pro quo agreement with Silver.
  • New York Magazine
    Wayne Barrett
    Now on New York Magazine's list of "Reasons to Love New York" is the conviction of former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's conviction. Author Wayne Barrett recounts Silver's corrupt acts, both more and lesser known, and their implications for the people of New York.
  • Law360
    Jessica Corso
    The Illinois Supreme Court ruled December 11, 2015, to bar a plaintiff's asbestos injury claims related to events more than 25 years old, A former employee, James Folta, had worked for Ferro Engineering between 1966 and 1970 and sought negligence and other common law claims against the company.
  • Harris Martin
    The Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the denial of a motion for summary judgment Dec. 10, 2015 on the basis that the asbestos plaintiff's expert witness testimony should have been excluded.
  • The New York Post
    Julia Marsh
    Because Columbia University cannot fire Dr. Robert Taub, the tenured researcher who had a quid pro quo agreement with now-convicted former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the school has stripped him of his grant money, title and staff raises. Dr. Taub exchanged asbestos patient referrals to Weitz & Luxenberg, Silver's private law firm, and in return received state research funds arranged for by Silver. In an affidavit, Dr. Taub said the university has fired him from 75 percent of his job.
  • Star Gazette
    Thomas Stebbins
    At the core of the investigation and conviction of former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is the "wildly profitable world of asbestos litigation," Tom Stebbins of Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York observes. In the current system, plaintiffs lawyers can file separate lawsuits against different companies with little documentation or oversight. Asbestos transparency bill S.5504, sponsored by Sen. Tom O'Mara, would make the process more open.
  • Mealey's
    On Dec. 1, 2015, a Wyoming federal jury returned a verdict in favor of defendant Flowserve, rejecting claims that a man's asbestos personal injury was related to exposure to the pump maker's products.
  • Harris Martin
    Westinghouse was awarded summary judgment Nov. 19, 2015, by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in an asbestos case. The court found a lack of evidence that the defendant's arc chutes released a high-enough level of asbestos fibers to cause personal injury, and the court also rejected expert testimony that it had previously deemed unreliable.
  • U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform
    The conviction of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver reveals more than just the corruption in New York politics -- it points to the extent of fraud in asbestos litigation. Personal injury lawyers have "turned true victims of asbestos exposure into pawns" while enriching themselves, the Institute for Legal Reform observes. The asbestos litigation system is no longer accomplishing what it was set up to do -- provide financial support for legitimate asbestos claimants.
  • Buffalo News
    Phoebe Stonbely
    Reforming the asbestos claims system is imperative, as the Sheldon Silver trial and conviction has shown. The currently fraud-riddled trust process need to be made more transparent. It's common sense, the author adds.
  • New York Post
    Bob McManus
    What will happen to other parties involved in illegal activity surrounding the Sheldon Silver conviction, including Weitz & Luxenberg? "So much for the hooker," Author Bob McManus writes. "What of the johns?"
  • Albany Times Union
    Thomas Stebbins
    A reform advocate calls for more control over the "trial lawyer agenda" in Albany, including increasing transparency in asbestos trust claims. Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York Executive Director Thomas Stebbins notes, "Under the current system, plaintiffs can recover millions from a trust and then file separate suit against a solvent company alleging a different set of facts."
  • Huffington Post
    Sara Warner
    Former NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's federal conviction on seven counts of illegal activity may bring in a new era and new focus on fraud and deceit in asbestos claims, Sara Warner observes. Will procedural reforms, RICO suits and transparency bring down the money tree that has been shaken by asbestos plaintiff lawyers for decades? Will asbestos claimants be further hurt by some personal injury lawyers' actions?
  • Gotham Gazette
    Thomas Stebbins
    The New York City asbestos docket, NYCAL, routinely pays out triple the national average for asbestos awards, notes Thomas Stebbins, executive director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York. Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's conviction for corruption is tied to the lucrative nature of NYCAL, Stebbins notes, and calls for asbestos trust transparency to help address the problem.
  • Associated Press
    David Klepper and Larry Neumeister
    The conviction of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has yielded a call for an overhaul of the state's corrupt political system by a number of politicians, including Bronx Democrat Carl Heastie, who said, "We will continue to work to root out corruption and demand more of elected officials when it comes to ethical conduct."
  • New York Law Journal
    Mark Hamblett
    A federal jury found former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver guilty on seven counts of honest services fraud, extortion and money laundering. Silver had a quid pro quo arrangement with a prominent cancer researcher in which he exchanged state funds for asbestos patient referrals to his law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, pocketing millions of dollars.
  • The New York Times
    United States District Court Southern District of New York
    Federal jury verdict sheet entered November 30, 2015 showing Sheldon former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver guilty on all seven counts of honest services mail and wire fraud, extortion and money laundering.
  • City Journal
    Steve Malanga
    Asbestos litigation was at the heart of the corruption trial of Sheldon Silver, City Journal Editor Steven Malanga writes. New York's asbestos courts have awarded $313 million over the last few years, and they still award punitive damages for asbestos claims, a practice that has been phased out in most U.S. courts. According to a Wall Street Journal article, “[D]ozens of defense attorneys [...] say New York’s asbestos docket has been rigged to favor one tort firm: Weitz & Luxenberg, the same powerhouse asbestos firm that benefited from an association with Mr. Silver.”
  • New York Daily News
    Kenneth Lovett
    Despite his conviction, former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will still collect a $90,750 per year pension -- 75 percent of his former $121,000 salary. "He abused the public trust, but he expects the public to continue to pay him his pension," Citizens Union Executive Director Dick Dadey says. Because Silver became assembly speaker before 2011, his pension is safe, unless he owes the government financial penalties he cannot pay.
  • New York Times
    Benjamin Weiser and Susanne Craig
    Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was convicted on Nov. 30, 2015 for ginning up state grants to a doctor in exchange for mesothelioma patient referrals to Silver’s law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg. The law firm then paid Silver millions in referral payments. In all, Silver was convicted on all seven federal counts of honest services fraud, extortion and money laundering. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, called Silver’s acts “show-me-the-money” conduct.  
  • The New York Post
    Kevin Sheehan, Dana Sauchelli and Selim Algar
    In Sheldon Silver's corruption trial, the former NY State Assembly Speaker was found guilty on all seven counts of honest services fraud, money laundering and extortion on Nov. 30, 2015. Silver had a quid pro quo arrangement with a prominent cancer researcher in which he exchanged state funds for asbestos claimant referrals to his private law practice, Weitz & Luxenberg. Silver pocketed more than $3 million in referral bonuses from the law firm. The former politician is automatically barred from holding any state position and faces up to 130 years in jail.
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    Asbestos plaintiffs' attorney John Simmons signed 26 of Dr. Robert Taub's mesothelioma patients as clients at his law firm, former Simmons' chief Gregg Kirkland testified. Records show that the Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation gave Dr. Taub's employer, Columbia University, $2.5 million over the same four years when the referrals took place. Dr. Taub is the cancer researcher who had a quid pro quo relationship with former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in which he illegally exchanged patient referrals for state research funds.
  • Legal Newsline
    John O’Brien
    A federal jury found former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver guilty on seven counts of honest services fraud, extortion and money laundering. Silver had a quid pro quo arrangement with a prominent cancer researcher in which he exchanged state funds for asbestos patient referrals to his law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, pocketing millions of dollars. He went to great lengths to conceal his relationship with the doctor, the jury found.
  • CBS New York
    A juror asked U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni to be excused from further deliberations in the corruption trial of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Less than two hours after deliberations began, the juror wrote in a note that she was "feeling pressured, stressed out," because her opinions differed from the other jurors. "I don’t feel like I can be myself right now! I need to leave!" she wrote.
  • Mealey's
    A Washington appeals court found Nov. 23, 2015 that when the statute of limitations bars personal injury action, an estate cannot proceed with a wrongful death lawsuit.
  • Reuters
    Joseph Ax
    A U.S. prosecutor told a jury that former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver "abused his office for a decade," pocketing millions of dollars from corrupt schemes he kept under wraps, Reuters reports.Silver is charged with having a quid pro quo arrangement with a prominent cancer researcher in which he exchanged state funds for asbestos claimant referrals to his private law practice, Weitz & Luxenberg.
  • Washington Post
    Tom Hays
    It is evident that "Sheldon Silver was a master of every form of deception — lying, keeping secrets, even splitting hairs," Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Goldstein told the jury in closing arguments against former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Silver is accused of having a quid pro quo arrangement with a prominent cancer researcher in which he exchanged state funds for asbestos claimant referrals to his law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg. 
  • The Wall Street Journal
    Erica Orden
    "This, ladies and gentlemen, was bribery. This was extortion. This was corruption. The real deal. Do not let it stand," Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Goldstein told the jury in closing arguments against former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Silver is accused of having a quid pro quo relationship with a prominent cancer researcher in which he arranged for state research grants in exchange for asbestos claimant referrals to his private law practice, Weitz & Luxenberg.
  • The New York Times
    Benjamin Weiser and Susanne Craig
    Dysfunction is not an excuse for illegal behavior, the government argued in its closing statements in a corruption trial against former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “To taint your fellow legislators and the democratic process with your own corruption, and say that that’s politics as usual, it is not even close,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Goldstein said, asking jurors not to let Silver's actions stand. In addition to a real estate scheme, Silver is accused of having a quid pro quo arrangement with a prominent cancer researcher in which he exchanged state funds for asbestos claimant referrals to his private law practice, Weitz & Luxenberg. 
  • Law360
    A company that built and supplied vessels to the U.S. Navy is not liable for asbestos-containing parts, a U.S. district court in Washington ruled, granting summary judgment.
  • The New York Times
    Benjamin Weiser
    Closing arguments in the trial of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will take most of the day Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, Manhattan Judge Valerie Caproni said. Closing arguments will be followed by juror instruction of the law and deliberations. The jury will consider four counts of honest services fraud, two counts of extortion and one count of money laundering against Silver.
  • The New York Post
    Michael Goodwin
    "He did it for the money," Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Goldstein told jurors before they began deliberating charges against former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “His services were corrupted by his greed and lies, by bribery, kickbacks and extortion." Among charges against Silver is the accusation that he pocketed millions of dollars in asbestos referral fees as a result of a quid pro quo arrangement with a prominent cancer researcher to whom he pushed state research funds. Author Kyle Smith compares Silver's acts to those of a "squeegee man."
  • New York Post
    Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver filed a "last-ditch motion" to have all corruption charges against him dismissed; however, Manhattan Judge Valerie Captroni's response suggested that Silver is still in hot water. Silver is accused of receiving illegal kickbacks from asbestos litigation and real estate schemes.
  • Mealey's
    Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC argued Nov. 16, 2015 that a request for compensation by the asbestos claimants' financial committee should be reduced by more than $104,000 on the basis that some of the work was excessive or unnecessary.
  • Mealey's
    According to the U.S. Supreme Court, registering to do business in Delaware cannot trigger general jurisdiction in the state, the defense told the state's top court Nov. 16, 2015.
  • Mealey's
    In criticizing expert testimony that did not address specific causation, Ford asked a federal judge in a Nov. 17, 2015 motion to clarify that specific causation is a requirement for asbestos cases.
  • Mealey's
    Plaintiffs attempting to depose a Mealey's Asbestos Bankruptcy Report author were asked by a New York justice to show cause in why he should not reject their subpoena.
  • New York Daily News
    Editorial Board
    In recounting events that led to his corruption trial, the New York Daily News Editorial Board calls former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver "calculatingly dishonest." The authors say Silver repeatedly lied to the paper about how he obtained his profitable "endless flow" of asbestos claimant clients for his private law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg.
  • Law360
    Stewart Bishop
    Prosecutors in the corruption trial of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver rested their case Nov. 18, 2015, after ten days of trial. During trial, they argued that Silver abused his political position to obtain illegal kickbacks through private law firm Weitz & Luxenberg. Silver faces charges of honest services fraud, money laundering and extortion. The defense is not expected to call witnesses to the stand.
  • New York Times
    Benjamin Weiser and Susanne Craig
    Prosecutors in the corruption trial of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, involving asbestos referral kickbacks, rested their case Nov. 18, 2015, after ten days of trial. The jury heard from a Buffalo venture capitalist, who testified about helping Silver invest his so-called "extra money." The investor, Jordan Levy, said Silver's portfolio eventually grew to more than $1.4 million, some of which Silver asked Levy to transfer to his wife's name.
  • Workers Compensation Law
    In Folta v. Ferro Engineering, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision, finding that an asbestos suit brought on behalf of a former employee long after employment had ended is barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.
  • The New York Post
    Josh Saul, Lia Eustachewich and Bruce Golding
    Relatives of an asbestos claimant referred to former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s law firm argue they were cheated out of their rightful claim because the lawyers were not as motivated as they would have been if Sheldon Silver didn’t take his 33 percent cut.
  • National Law Review
    In Folta v. Ferro Engineering, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s decision and held that an asbestos suit brought on behalf of a former employee long after employment had ended is barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.
  • The Wall Street Journal
    Jacob Gershman
    Leaders at Weitz & Luxenberg PC testified that indicted former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver performed no legal work while serving as “of counsel” at the Manhattan personal injury law firm even though he receive more than $3 million in referral fees.
  • Legal Newsline
    Jon Campisi
    Asbestos defendants lack the legal privileges of plaintiffs in Newport News, VA asbestos suits, according to a recent report by the American Tort Reform Association, labeling the venue a “Judicial Hellhole.” As one example of the lack of privileges, defendants are not allowed to cross-examine plaintiff experts. 
  • BisNow
    Aisha Carter
    Weitz & Luxenberg’s managing partner, Gary Klein, testified during the Silver trial and confirmed that Silver did not practice law for the firm but purely earned his income at the firm through referrals.   
  • Associated Press
    Tom Hays
    Attorneys for Weitz & Luxenberg testify in the Silver trial, as prosecutors seek to show that Sheldon Silver, as the AP reports, "exploited the firm to make a fortune on a bribery scheme involving a cancer researcher."
  • The New York Times
    Susanne Craig and Benjamin Weiser
    Leaders at Manhattan-based Weitz & Luxenberg testified that indicted former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver performed no legal work while serving as “of counsel” at the personal injury law firm even while earning significant sums in the form of referral fees. Arthur Luxenberg testified that he did not know that Silver was using state funds to obtain asbestos patient referrals. 
  • The New York Post
    Kyle Smith
    The prosecution has tried to show that the relationship between former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Dr. Robert Taub was one of corruption, not innocent friendship. Dr. Taub, a cancer expert, allegedly steered his asbestos victims to Silver’s law firm because he hoped Silver would reciprocate the favor with funding more mesothelioma research, something the Speaker did with $500,000 in taxpayers money. 
  • Associated Press
    Tom Hays
    Dr. Robert Taub, a prominent Columbia University professor, told a jury that he referred asbestos patients to former Sheldon Silver's law firm in exchange for state research funds. After Taub began referring patients to Silver, Taub was "encouraged" to write a letter asking for research funding, and two $250,000 grants followed. Taub also admitted he lied when first asked by prosecutors whether he had referred patients to Silver.
  • New York Times
    Susanne Craig
    Author Craig names key players in the Sheldon Silver trial, including Arthur Luxenberg, Perry Weitz, and Dr. Robert Taub, all allegedly involved in Silver receiving kickbacks from asbestos claimant referrals.
  • New York Times
    Susanne Craig and William K. Rashbaum
    In a question and answer format, authors Craig and Rashbaum discuss the Sheldon Silver trial and possible outcomes. Former New York State Assembly Speaker Silver is on trial for allegedly receiving illicit payments for asbestos patient referrals. 
  • Forbes
    Daniel Fisher
    The U.S. Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform has released a report that found lawyers have increased ad spending to $892 million this year. Plaintiff law firms often seek clients for lawsuits involving asbestos, and other products. "Mesothelioma" is one of the most expensive search terms on Google.
  • Bluefield Daily Telegraph
    West Virginia Senate President Bill Cole and House Speaker Tim Armstead were honored for their legal reform efforts with the 2015 State Legislative Achievement Award at the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform’s 16th Annual Legal Reform Summit Oct. 27, 2015. Among the legislators' achievements are transparency laws to discourage asbestos plaintiffs' attorneys from "double dipping" with asbestos bankruptcy trusts.
  • New York Post
    Josh Saul
    Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has subpoenaed documents involving grants from Dr. Robert Taub, who reportedly referred asbestos patients to former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's private law firm in exchange for state research funds.
  • New York Post
    Josh Saul
    A federal judge says she will likely allow the jury to hear Dr. Robert Taub's testimony in a corruption case against former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, including an email Taub allegedly sent in 2010 about his disapproval of Weitz & Luxenberg's practices. The email will be introduced later in the trial, during cross examination, the judge says. The trial will begin Nov. 2, 2015.
  • Wall Street Journal
    Erica Orden
    Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's corruption trial will begin Nov. 2, 2015. Prosecutors from the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office plan to call Dr. Robert Taub as a witness. Taub allegedly referred asbestos patients to former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's private law firm in exchange for state research funds.
  • New York Post
    Josh Saul
    Dr. Robert Taub, who allegedly referred asbestos patients to former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's private law firm in exchange for state research funds, says he was unhappy with the deal. According to court papers, Taub began referring mesothelioma patients to other asbestos plaintiff lawyers once the speaker stopped the grants.
  • Times Union
    Chris Bragg
    U.S. District Attorney Preet Bharara said the government expects Dr. Robert Taub, who allegedly exchanged asbestos patient referrals to former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's private law firm for state research funds, to testify about his disapproval of Weitz & Luxenberg. Bharara says Taub will most likely testify that he "would not have sent dozens of patients to Silver at Weitz & Luxenberg, resulting in millions of dollars to Silver personally."
  • Courthouse News
    Adam Klasfeld
    With the federal trial set for November 2, 2015, New York State Assemblyman Sheldon Silver's lawyer protested the timing of production of evidence by prosecutors. Silver has been facing charges since January that he accepted more than $6 million in bribes and kickbacks from asbestos client referrals to a law firm and also for favors for real estate developers.
  • West Virginia Record
    Chris Dickerson
    Asbestos plaintiff lawyer Jim Humphreys and his firm, James F. Humphreys & Associates LC, were named in a potential malpractice class action lawsuit filed on October 6, 2015 by Beverly McCormick. The suit alleges that the firm mishandled an asbestos mass tort case against Celotex, harming numerous asbestos claimants. After failing to meet a filing deadline, law firm employees reportedly were told not to disclose the "filing blunder” to clients.
  • Belleville News-Democrat
    Elizabeth Donald
    On October 6, 2015, Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch supporters gathered in protest in front of the Belleville and Edwardsville courthouses, to oppose recent actions involving local judges. Concerns include the appointment of a Simmons law firm asbestos plaintiffs' attorney, Jennifer Hightower, to an Associate Judgeship in Madison County, a "Judicial Hellhole" where Simmons lawyers file many of the County's asbestos lawsuits. Also, in St. Clair County, three judges are vacating their seats to run for election and avoid a 60 percent approval rating requirement for judicial retention elections. The watchdog group alleges that some judges are gaming the system in Metro-East courts.  
  • SE Texas Record
    David Yates
    In order to combat double-dipping in asbestos litigation and asbestos trust funds, U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold has reintroduced in Congress the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act. The FACT Act would protect asbestos trusts from being unfairly drained -- by requiring quarterly disclosure of claim information and compliance with information requests from asbestos litigators. Reportedly more than 600,000 Texas veterans support the bill.
  • Legal Newsline
    John O'Brien
    Following U.S. District Judge Graham Mullen’s approval, Garlock Sealing Technologies has issued subpoenas to 29 law firms, including Baron & Budd, Simon Greenstone, Stanley-Iola, and Waters & Kraus. Garlock is seeking to use the records to establish a pattern of racketeering on the part of Belluck & Fox. Judge Mullen noted that the discovery requests are broad, but added so is the alleged fraud.
  • The Hill
    Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas)
    The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act will help to protect asbestos trust funds from implausible and inconsistent claims, in addition to protecting funds intended for future asbestos claimants. Many trusts have a reduced ability to pay first responders and other legitimate future claimants because of apparent fraud and abuse of the trust system. With the FACT Act, all asbestos trust claims would be filed electronically and would enable the trusts to issue public reports that would allow oversight and help prevent rampant abuse.
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    Heather Isringhausen Gvillo
    Approximately 745 asbestos cases have been filed this year in Madison County, Illinois' Circuit Court as of Aug. 31, 2015, according to one asbestos plaintiff law firm's count, although an attorney with the firm admitted the count may not be comprehensive. A record number of asbestos cases were filed in Madison County in 2014.
  • Mealy's
    A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge ruled Sept. 23, 2015 that negotiations between asbestos claimants and Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC after Jan. 16 on a debtor reorganization plan will remain confidential.
  • Mealy's
    On Sept. 21, 2015, a California jury returned a defense verdict for five defendants in a case alleging asbestos exposure from brake manufacturing devices and other equipment.
  • Mealy's
    On Sept. 17, 2015 in Tennessee, Honeywell International received a defense verdict in a case where the plaintiff alleged exposure to asbestos in a predecessor's brake manufacturing plant.
  • Business Insurance
    Sheena Harrison
    A California appellate court ruled that workers' compensation is the "exclusive remedy" for the plaintiffs in an asbestos exposure case in which an employee took home materials from work. The court also ordered the plaintiffs to pay the defendant $80,719 in fees for expert witness testimony.
  • Huffington Post
    Sara Warner
    Courts watcher Sara Warner discusses widespread asbestos fraud and says the evidence becoming public will make the scandal bigger than Enron or the Teapot Dome. Asbestos claimants and their families could be affected. The asbestos litigation industry is estimated to involve as much money per year as NFL football. Some asbestos plaintiff firms are facing racketeering charges, and a new documentary may bring the scandal more into public focus in 2016.
  • Harris Martin
    A summary judgment award to an asbestos defendant has been affirmed by a California appellate court. The court opined that the plaintiff's presence at a site with asbestos-containing products does not automatically establish significant exposure.
  • CBS St. Louis
    Kevin Killeen
    The new U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform report ranked Madison County, Illinois as having one of the worst litigation climates in the U.S. Illinois Lawsuit Abuse's Travis Akin says 25 percent of asbestos cases in the U.S. end up in Madison County's courts, creating a problem given “the shear volume of cases, cases that have absolutely nothing to do with Madison County or even the state of Illinois."
  • Forbes
    Daniel Fisher
    A U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform report lists Illinois as home to one of the worst litigation climates in the U.S. "Madison County judges will hear just about any case involving asbestos, regardless of where the plaintiff lives," author Daniel Fisher writes. Seventy-six percent of lawsuits filed in Madison County in 2014 were asbestos-related, and the county's courts handle about a third of asbestos lawsuits filed in the U.S., generating an estimated $600 million a year for plaintiffs' attorneys.
  • Digital Journal
    By the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform
    Illinois ranks among the nation's worst litigation climates, according to a U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) report released Sept. 10, 2015. "Over the years, Madison County’s loose standards for accepting cases from outside the county and even the state has made it a national focal point for asbestos litigation," ILR reports.
  • Mealey's
    A plaintiff did not demonstrate sufficient evidence of his father's alleged exposure to asbestos from Navy ships, a Louisiana federal judge ruled on Sept. 9, 2015.
  • Legal Newsline
    John O'Brien
    A federal judge ruled that racketeering charges against asbestos plaintiffs' law firms will proceed. Judge Graham Mullen noted that the bankruptcy court found evidence consistent with Garlock's claims when it reviewed a number of asbestos cases.
  • Mealey's
    A bystander asbestos exposure lawsuit resulted in a defendant summary judgment, a California appeals court ruled Sept. 8, 2015. The evidence presented was deemed inadequate.
  • Mealey's
    A North Carolina federal judge will allow Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC to obtain information from 24 asbestos bankruptcy trusts as it seeks to show a pattern of racketeering by plaintiffs' attorneys.
  • Mealey's
    A California federal judge ruled Sept. 3, 2015 that a federal bankruptcy judge was within her powers to prevent an attorney from filing claims with multiple asbestos bankruptcy trusts and forcing the attorney to transfer pending claims to other lawyers.
  • New York Post
    Carl Campanile
    Manhattan Judge Peter Moulton, who oversees the asbestos docket, is ordering an overhaul of the case management orders that guide asbestos litigation, which, the article notes, "have been a multi-million-dollar spigot for Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s old law firm and many others." The American Tort Reform Association has named NYCAL as the No. 1 "judicial hellhole" because it is home to the country's highest asbestos verdicts. Counsel for plaintiffs and defendants will negotiate revisions to the NYCAL case management orders, then Judge Moulton will intercede as necessary.
  • Mealey's
    A North Carolina federal judge ruled on Sept. 2, 2015 that Garlock Sealing Technologies' allegations against asbestos plaintiffs' attorneys are "more than adequate to state a claim for fraud."
  • New York Law Journal
    Ben Bedell
    New York City Asbestos Litigation Judge Peter Moulton decided Aug. 28, 2015, against a stay of asbestos litigation but announced that there will be "a top to bottom re-examination" of the case management order. Asbestos plaintiffs' and defendants' lawyers will work together to propose revisions of the CMO by Oct. 9, 2015. The court will then review and implement changes.
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    Ann Maher
    Local lawmakers and tort reform group Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch (I-LAW) are urging the passage of venue reform as part of Governor Rauner's Turnaround Agenda in Illinois, which would prevent attorneys from filing lawsuits in local courts such as Madison County's when the case has no connection to the county or state. In Madison County’s asbestos docket, the busiest in the U.S., reportedly 90 percent of claimants are from out of state. “It’s just common sense to require lawsuits filed in Illinois to have an actual connection to Illinois, and yet in Madison County, 98 percent of the asbestos lawsuits filed there are for plaintiffs who do not live in that county, which is an absurd misuse of our courts and our tax dollars," I-LAW's Travis Akin notes.
  • Legal Newsline
    John O'Brien
    New York City Asbestos Litigation Judge Peter Moulton decided Aug. 28, 2015, against a stay of asbestos litigation but announced there will be changes to the way cases are handled on that docket. Judge Moulton said defendants, who expressed concern surrounding NYCAL, "have raised important issues that warrant a complete re-examination of the CMO." Asbestos plaintiffs' and defendants' lawyers will work together to propose revisions to the CMO by Oct. 9, 2015. The court will then review and implement changes.
  • Cook County Record
    Dan Churney
    A claimant failed to convince a Chicago judge to grant him a new trial after a jury found his personal injury was caused by smoking a pack and a half of cigarettes a day for the last 30 years, not by asbestos exposure. Plaintiffs' attorneys motioned for a new trial, which was rejected, after the judge eliminated expert testimony that included the "any exposure" theory.
  • http://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/mealeys/b/newsheadlines/archive/2015/08/26/mealey-39-s-pi-product-liability-judge-rejects-expert-juror-challenges-affirms-asbestos-defense-verdict.aspx
    A judge rejected an expert's testimony from being heard as it would restate the "every exposure" theory excluded from the case. The defense verdict was affirmed, finding that tobacco caused a man's personal injury, not asbestos exposure.
  • A claimant's allegations of symptoms after being exposed to asbestos are not grounds for avoiding workers' compensation exclusivity, based on an international tort exemption claim, a Washington appellate court ruled Aug. 24, 2015.
  • Mealey's
    A Louisiana jury sided with defendants Union Carbide Corp. and Montello in a lawsuit that alleged asbestos personal injury caused by drilling mud. The verdict was reached on August 20, 2015
  • Tyler Morning Telegraph
    Texas' sustained economic success is made possible in part by a long history of tort reform, the Tyler Morning Telegraph editorial notes. Asbestos tort reform is one of the contributing factors.
  • North Carolina Chamber
    Gary J. Salamido
    The North Carolina Chamber supports the Furthering Asbestos Claim Trust (FACT) Act in the U.S. Congress, which would require disclosure of asbestos trust claims information, help bring accurate information to asbestos lawsuits and discourage "double dipping" in asbestos claims..
  • Pantagraph
    Edith Brady-Lunny
    The Fourth District Appellate Court in Springfield, Illinois has overturned a $1.3 million verdict against the Illinois Central Railroad. The court found that the defendant was not able to inform the jury of the plaintiff's work at another business. The jury could only place blame on the defendant "because it heard no other evidence with regard to asbestos exposure," the court opined.
  • Harris Martin
    A federal court in Maryland awarded Hopeman Brothers Inc. summary judgment on August 10, 2015, after finding that asbestos claimants had insufficient evidence for a jury to find alleged exposure to asbestos was "frequent, proximate, and regular." Also, the court dismissed strict liability and negligence claims against the defendant.
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    Heather Isringhausen Gvillo
    All 316 asbestos lawsuits set for trial in Madison County, Illinois the week of August 10, 2015 have settled. None of the cases went to trial, and no jurors were selected. Only 24 claimants in the 316 cases were Illinois residents, and only seven were Madison County residents. Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch Executive Director Travis Akin notes, "This staggering number of asbestos cases set for trial in Madison County, almost all of which are from plaintiffs who have no connection to Madison County, shows that greedy personal injury lawyers are continuing to try to game the system to get rich at our expense."
  • Legal Newsline
    John O'Brien
    Garlock Sealing Technologies is waiting to find out if the Kentucky Court of Appeals will reinstate a "gamesmanship" lawsuit against a plaintiffs firm. The charges were brought by Garlock after attorneys allegedly knowingly concealed evidence and waited until after securing a verdict to submit claims to bankruptcy trusts. Garlock has filed racketeering claims against four other law firms in federal court.
  • Washington Examiner
    Tiger Joyce
    Asbestos defendants lose 85 percent of trials in Newport News, Virginia, American Tort Reform Association President Tiger Joyce points out. Weak causation and evidence standards make the jurisdiction among the most biased, and this has landed Newport News on the American Tort Reform Association's Judicial Hellholes list in a rare mid-year revision. "Asbestos defendants in Newport News are denied evenhanded justice," Joyce writes.
  • Southeast Texas Record
    The Southeast Texas Record lampoons the Beaumont, Texas-based Brent Coon law firm for "double dipping" in asbestos litigation where asbestos lawyers Coon recommended seek to blame one entity while Coon had already claimed damages from other entities for the same injury. Delaware Judge Peggy Ableman called one case of asbestos claim double dipping "a quintessential example of the abusive practices" in asbestos litigation.
  • Mealey’s
    A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge will allow Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC to subpoena the Johns Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust. Garlock will have access to some information about 90,000 asbestos claimants in a preliminary step of eliminating false positive matches.
  • Harris Martin
    A California federal court awarded summary judgment to Crane Co. July 23, 2015 after finding that the asbestos defendant proved the plaintiffs' counsel did not provide sufficient evidence of exposure.
  • AdGooroo
    Jim Leichenko
    A study by AdGooroo found 13 of the top 20 most expensive search engine keywords were related to mesothelioma, with the price to sponsor those keywords skyrocketing. Sponsors spent $24 million on the keyword "mesothelioma" in 2014. AdGooroo also found that eight of the top ten most expensive keywords in 2015 were related to mesothelioma, with "mesothelioma attorneys TX," "mesothelioma attorney MD," and "Alabama mesothelioma attorney" topping the charts.
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    Ann Maher
    More than 300 asbestos cases will proceed August 10, 2015 in Madison County, Illinois. Stephen Stobbs, the court's only asbestos judge, will preside over the cases. Attorney Mark Behrens said the action "demonstrates that the court is more interested in efficiency than fairness." Of the 279 cases on the docket filed from 2013 - 2015, only 24 claimants (8.5 percent) are Illinois residents. Only 2.4 percent of claimants are Madison County residents.
  • Harris Martin
    On August 4, 2015, an Alabama federal court dismissed asbestos exposure claims against Cummins Inc., citing the bare metal defense. The court ruled that the defendant could not be held liable because it did not manufacture or supply the products cited by the plaintiff.
  • Legal Newsline
    John O'Brien
    Personal injury lawyers' actions in an asbestos trial were deemed "disingenuous" and "disturbing," by Kentucky Circuit Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman on July 23, 2015. In a case against General Electric, lawyers from Satterley & Kelley failed to disclose that they had begun submitting a claim to the Johns Manville trust on behalf of a client. The Judge added, "You’re pregnant or you’re not. You submitted a claim or you didn’t. And that’s the problem I have."   
  • The Legal Intelligencer
    John L. Kennedy
    Rep. Warren Kampf has introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives legislation that would require plaintiffs' attorneys to disclose all the claimant’s asbestos actions. House Bill 1428, the Fairness in Claims and Transparency Act, would ensure that defendants know about any planned or prior claims, or awards, from other asbestos bankruptcy trusts.
  • Law360
    Brandon Lowrey
    A Florida jury rejected $19 million in asbestos claims against Caterpillar Inc and Dana Holding Corp. Defendants argued that there was no proof that asbestos exposure from Caterpillar or Dana caused the claimants' father's injury.
  • Law360
    Jeff Sistrunk
    Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Inc. and other defendants' motion to block causation-related expert testimony was allowed by a Louisiana federal judge who stated, "Dr. Kraus’ specific causation opinions are an unreliable product of the 'every exposure above background' theory and must be excluded."
  • Mealey’s
    A New York justice held July 31, 2015 that a court can undertake an in camera review and disclose abuses in asbestos claims during litigation against an unrelated party. Such action does not require the disclosure of confidential settlements.
  • Mealey’s
    An Illinois appeals panel found July 30, 2015 that a judge erred by excluding evidence that may have shown a man's asbestos injury arose not from the defendant's conduct but from asbestos dust in a facility.  
  • WJBC Central Illinois
    Eric Stock
    An Illinois appeals court rejected a $1.4 million asbestos exposure verdict, calling for a new trial, on the grounds that the defendant should have been allowed to inform the jury that the claimant had previously worked for another manufacturing company.
  • Southeast Texas Record
    Asbestos claimants without evidence of illness clog court systems and waste substantial amounts of time and money, the Southeast Texas Record editorial notes. Judge Mark Davidson's dismissal of 30,000 asbestos cases that were previously on hold should free up time and funding for more pressing matters.
  • Reuters
    Joseph Ax
    Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who allegedly used his position at a private law firm to conceal millions of dollars earned illegally through asbestos claimant referrals, lost a second bid to have federal corruption charges dismissed. U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni said, "None of Silver's arguments is persuasive." Silver will face trial in November 2015.
  • David Yates
    Houston Judge Mark Davidson has dismissed 30,000 asbestos cases in Texas on the grounds that they lack medical proof. The dismissals come after the Texas Legislature enacted a bill in 2013 allowing asbestos cases that had been on hold to be dismissed.  
  • Law360
    Erin Coe
    Author Erin Coe highlights Johnny Blaine Kesner Jr. v. S.C. and Joshua Haver v. BNSF Railway Co. as among "cases to watch" in 2015. The two lower court decisions came to different conclusions about liability in secondhand asbestos exposure lawsuits. The California Supreme Court is currently reviewing those decisions.
  • New York Post
    Kirstan Conley
    Forty-two New York state legislators who are attorneys earned as much as $4.2 million in 2014 from private law practice, according to a new report from the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York. Personal injury lawyers earned the most, with an average of $239,000. "One has to wonder if the personal injury lawyer-legislators are in office to serve the interests of New York, or their personal-injury law firms," the Alliance's Executive Director Tom Stebbins said. Stebbins referenced the indictment of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who allegedly received millions in illegal bribes and kickbacks through asbestos client "referrals" over a multi-year period.
  • Watchdog Arena
    Steve Ambrose
    The American Tort Reform Association upgraded Newport News, Virginia to "Judicial Hellholes" status. ATRA points to Newport News' legal procedures in asbestos cases which unfairly give advantage to asbestos plaintiffs -- leading to an 85 percent plaintiff-favorable verdict outcome. Author Steve Ambrose cites two reform measures from the ATRA report: "A mainstream overhaul of 'substantial factor' causation and applying evidentiary rules fairly for both plaintiff and defendant."
  • Harris Martin
    The Tennessee Supreme Court has instructed a lower court to hold a new asbestos trial after remanding a lawsuit on the grounds that the judge did not follow proper procedure by giving the jury instructions on contributory fault after it reached a verdict. The new trial will be held on the issue of damages only.
  • Reuters
    Jessica Dye
    A California state appeals court dismissed a subsidiary of BorgWarner Inc. from $32.5 million in punitive damages in an asbestos lawsuit. The court ruled that claimants did not clearly establish the defendant's financial condition.
  • Legal Newsline
    Jon Campisi
    Consolidations of asbestos claims in Maryland in the 1990s have created a massive backlog of 30,000 cases. In a report, Attorney F. Ford Loker observes that Maryland's system of allowing plaintiffs' lawyers--not judges or court officials--to control the asbestos docket is unique. Chief of the Court of Appeals Judge Mary Ellen Barbera stated, “regardless of the amount of judicial effort and resources, unless the court establishes a toll gate at which entrance to the litigation is controlled, non-meritorious cases will clog the process." 
  • American Tort Reform Association
    In a rare mid-year adjustment, the American Tort Reform Foundation moved Newport News, Virginia from its less critical watch list to full “judicial hellhole” status. The status is based on research that shows defendants are more likely to lose trials in Newport News than any other jurisdiction in the U.S. The American Tort Reform Foundation specifically cites problems with asbestos litigation in the jurisdiction.
  • Harris Martin
    A Tennessee federal court transferred an asbestos case to Louisiana on the grounds that the plaintiff's exposure occurred in Louisiana. The court wrote, “Whether or not venue is proper in this Court... the interests of justice are best served by this transfer."
  • Harris Martin
    In a June 24, 2015 opinion, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey granted defendants General Electric, A.W. Chesterton and Westinghouse summary judgement, saying they could not be held liable for the asbestos-containing materials used in conjunction with their products. The court found that claims fell into the territory of government contractor and bare metal defenses. 
  • Law360
    Sindhu Sundar
    NYCAL Judge Peter Moulton is said to be under pressure to decide what the NYCAL case management order should be for asbestos cases. A New York appellate court ruled July 9, 2015 that Judge Sherry Klein Heitler, who previously oversaw the docket, was within her powers to amended the CMO to allow for punitive damages, but she exceeded her authority and violated defendants’ due process rights in ordering the jury to be charged at the end of the evidentiary phase. "From my point of view as a defense attorney, asbestos litigation is not the appropriate type of litigation for punitive damages," Curt Cutting of Horvitz & Levy LLP observed.
  • Mealey's
    In an April 2014 decision, Judge Heitler was within her powers when she amended the asbestos case management order, a New York appellate court found, but Heitler exceeded her authority and violated due process protections by having the jury charged at the end of the evidentiary phase. This left defendants not knowing whether or not punitive damages would be sought, the court said.
  • Washington Examiner
    Linda Kelly
    For manufacturers being sued, the outcome of the lawsuit often depends on where the case is filed. For example, the asbestos docket in Madison County, Illinois had 1,660 lawsuits filed in 2013, and 92 percent of these were on behalf of out-of-state residents.
  • Harris Martin
    In response to asbestos-related claims, a Maryland court ruled that defendants had a plausible federal defense related to following U.S. Coast Guard specifications when supplying equipment.
  • Harris Martin
    An Illinois federal judge dismissed three defendants from an asbestos action after finding that the court did not have jurisdiction over the defendants. The court maintained that “the mere presence of a defendant in the forum does not subject it to all-purpose jurisdiction in that forum.” The dismissed defendants were General Electric Co., Johnson Controls Inc. and Union Carbide.
  • Legal Newsline
    John O'Brien
    Court records show that in 2014, Ford Motor Company said Weitz & Luxenberg, the employer of former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was gaming the asbestos tort system. Silver is accused of using the private firm to conceal illegal kickbacks for asbestos claimant referrals. Also, Ford's attorneys said regarding the plaintiff firm's failure to file viable claims with asbestos bankruptcy trusts, “The only conceivable motive for plaintiffs’ counsel’s failure to file such meritorious claims is gamesmanship, pure and simple."
  • Observer
    Jill Jorgensen
    Lawyers for former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who is accused of collecting millions of dollars in illegal kickbacks and bribes through asbestos claimant referrals, have submitted that a ruling in Johnson v. United States supports their motion to dismiss. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Silver “misconstrues the import of Johnson.” This filing for Silver applies to just one of seven counts against him in his indictment.
  • Jewish Political Updates
    Sol Rieger
    Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is refusing to disclose outside income in court proceedings, according to filings disclosed to the public. Silver is accused of receiving $3 million for illegally obtained asbestos claimant referrals at his private law practice. Silver allegedly pushed state and other funding to a doctor's research practice in exchange for the referrals.
  • State-Journal Register
    John Connor, Associated Press
    Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has proposed five structural reforms to improve the state's litigation and business climates. One proposed measure is to eliminate "venue shopping." Madison County is notorious as a "Judicial Hellhole" where juries hand out large awards in asbestos and other claims -- even when the plaintiffs and the incident may have little connection to the county or state.
  • Mealey’s
    On June 24, 2015, a California appeals court upheld a trial court's earlier ruling that an asbestos plaintiff had not established triable issues.
  • Top Class Actions
    Amanda Antell
    After initially awarding an asbestos claimant's family $20 million, a New York State Court may order a new trial if plaintiffs do not agree to a reduced award of $6 million.
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    Heather Isringhausen Gvillo
    A recently unsealed database shows that $517 million has been awarded to about 850 asbestos plaintiffs who have made claims against Garlock Sealing Technologies. About 20 percent of claimants are Madison County asbestos plaintiffs.
  • Legal Newsline
    John O'Brien
    Dr. Robert Taub, the doctor who allegedly steered asbestos patients to former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's law firm in exchange for state funds, treated a patient 22 days before Silver's firm filed a lawsuit on the patient's behalf. The lawsuit resulted in an $11 million verdict. The author of the article observes, "Jurors found [Silver] went to great lengths to conceal his relationship with Taub." 
  • West Virginia Record
    It may take some time for West Virginia's asbestos personal injury lawyers to acknowledge the many benefits of asbestos transparency reforms will bring to local citizens, assuming that some of the attorneys can put the public good above their personal interests, the West Virginia Record opines. The Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Transparency Act, effective June 9, 2015, has garnered broad support. Mark Behrens of Shook, Hardy & Bacon says the law will “promote honesty in trust-claiming activity and in civil asbestos litigation." Roman Stauffer of West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse says the bill will "shed much-needed daylight on how trusts are being run and cut down on widespread fraud in trust claims and litigation.”
  • Southeast Texas Record
    David Yates
    On June 16, 2015, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1492 into law. The bill is designed to bring transparency to asbestos and silica claims and end "double dipping" by asbestos plaintiffs' lawyers who file conflicting claims about individuals' exposure seeking to profit unfairly from trust resources and take resources away from legitimate future claimants.
  • Mealey's
    On June 12, 2015, a Maryland federal judge ruled that an asbestos claimant lacks evidence that automobile brakes lacked sufficient warnings or even contained asbestos.
  • Law360
    Paul DeBenedetto
    On June 16, 2015, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1492, which will increase transparency in asbestos litigation. The measure requires asbestos plaintiffs to file with bankruptcy trusts before they can sue. This will provide courts with increased ability to stay trials. Defendants will also be able to file a motion to stay proceedings if they believe the claimant could file a trust claim. John Wittman, a spokesman for Gov. Abbott, said, “Governor Abbott signed H.B. 1492 to increase transparency in asbestos litigation and shed light on the very real problem of double-dipping in cases relating to this issue."
  • Illinois Review
    Travis Akin
    Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed lawsuit reform legislation is necessary and will improve Illinois' economy and jobs base, according to Travis Akin of Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch. Illinois has been ranked the fifth worst state in the U.S. for legal fairness. One of Gov. Rauner's proposed reforms would help stop venue shopping. Akin adds, "in one notorious personal injury lawyer friendly Illinois county, 98% of the asbestos lawsuits filed there are for plaintiffs who do not live in that county."
  • New York Post
    Josh Saul
    In court papers filed June 12, 2015, federal prosecutors mocked former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's ongoing attempts to have his corruption charges dismissed. The prosecutors stated, “As much as Silver may wish otherwise, bribes, kickbacks and extortion are just as illegal in New York as they are in every other state.” 
  • Columbia Spectator
    Emma Kolchin-Miller
    Robert Taub, the former Columbia University Medical Center doctor who was a key player in former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s indictment, has filed a lawsuit against the University over his dismissal. Taub was allegedly referring asbestos patients to the personal injury law firm that employed Silver -- and in return Silver was directing state funds to Taub as research grants. Edward Gelmann, deputy director of the medical center, commented that the referrals were "not something that I would do or expect from a colleague.”  
  • Pennsylvania Record
    Jon Campisi
    Attorneys for Ford Motor Co. say in an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas' use of mandatory consolidation in its asbestos docket over the years is improper. Ford claims the consolidation caused “extraordinary prejudice that violated Ford’s due process rights: Defendants with nothing in common were consolidated in one trial, forced to present defenses that contradicted one another, and foreclosed from cross-examining adverse witnesses because those witnesses were testifying for or against a different defendant in another case.”
  • Legal Newsline
    John O'Brien
    In response to the defendants' request to stay New York asbestos litigation for 60 days, plaintiffs' attorneys reportedly say it is neither "the time nor the occasion." This article details the events preceding motions to change the 27-year-old CMO -- from chief judge Sherry Heitler's reintroduction of punitive damages in asbestos litigation, to ATRA's identification of NYCAL as the Number One Judicial Hellhole, to former Assembly Speaker Silver's indictment. A summary letter of defendants' claims is quoted as well.
  • Mealey's
    A New York appeals court ruled June 9, 2015 that a manufacturer is not liable for a man's alleged asbestos exposure from salvaging pumps. The court found that demolition and dismantling of products does not qualify as intended or foreseeable use.
  • West Virginia Record
    Chris Dickerson
    West Virginia's Senate Bill 411, or the Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Transparency Act and the Asbestos and Silica Claims Priorities Act, took effect June 9, 2015. The measure increases transparency in asbestos litigation by establishing legal standards, creating statute of limitations standards and requiring the disclosure of previous and potential claims with asbestos bankruptcy trusts. Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, applauded West Virginia Gov. Early Ray Tomblin for signing the bill, noting, "this legislation will shed much-needed daylight on how trusts are being run and cut down on widespread fraud in trust claims and litigation," Stauffer said.
  • Pennsylvania Record
    John O’Brien
    John A. Turlik of Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney testified in the Garlock Sealing Technologies bankruptcy case in 2013 that Philadelphia was an especially tough jurisdiction for asbestos defendants. Cases were brought into Philadelphia from less plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions, Turlik said. Judge George Hodges ruled in 2014 in the landmark Garlock case that plaintiffs' attorneys had been "double dipping" into asbestos trusts. Philadelphia was named the American Tort Reform Association's Number one Judicial Hellhole in 2010 and 2011.
  • Law360
    Daniel Wilson
    A Louisiana federal judge ruled June 8, 2015 that family members could not claim "mental anguish" over a former shipyard worker's alleged asbestos injury, as they were not direct witnesses to the claimed injury. The case involves claims against Huntington Ingalls and two other defendants.
  • Washington Legal Foundation
    Mark Behrens
    Seven out of ten asbestos cases in Virginia are filed in Newport News, where evidence standards are low relative to other courts. Also, Newport News, Virginia’s 85 percent win rate for asbestos plaintiffs — the nation’s highest — is evidence of how skewed this court is. Author Mark Behrens calls for specific changes, including allowing dose reconstruction, showing exposure to be a substantial factor in causation, and addressing employer knowledge.
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    Chicago attorney and President of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association John Cooney failed to mention in an April 29, 2015 statement that asbestos cases represent three fourths of total cases filed in Madison County, Illinois. Instead, he wrote that asbestos cases “represent a fraction of total cases filed in Madison County.” Cooney has an asbestos practice that operates primarily in Cook County, Illinois. The asbestos plaintiff lawyers contribute heavily to legislators opposed to Governor Rauner's proposed venue reforms.
  • Law360
    Mark A. Behrens and Phil S. Goldberg
    Behrens and Goldberg reflect on how New York became such a "lucrative place to file asbestos lawsuits," as exposed by the indictment of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. To restore confidence in the judiciary system, New York must "have true transparency between the tort system and asbestos bankruptcy trusts." The lack of transparency leads to abuses, many of which have been documented. Behrens and Goldberg trace exposure of the issue back to a 2007 Ohio case, calling for reform of the tort system.
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    Mark Behrens
    Mark Behrens discusses Illinois' reputation as a destination for "litigation tourism." The litigation system in Illinois makes it easy for asbestos plaintiffs to win favorable verdicts with big payouts, he argues, so claimants from outside Illinois flock to the state. Behrens says citizens in some Illinois counties are burdened by the lawsuit climate, having to wait longer for trial slots or taking on more jury duty. He notes that Illinois has one of the worst lawsuit climates in the U.S., according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform, and that the American Tort Reform named Madison County a "judicial hellhole."
  • Madison-St. Clair Record
    Heather Isringhausen Gvillo
    Recently unsealed data show that Madison County, Illinois plaintiffs account for about 20 percent of total asbestos payouts from claims against Garlock Sealing Technologies. The database was recently unsealed in Garlock's bankruptcy proceedings.
  • New York Daily News
    Stephen Rex Brown
    Sheldon Silver, former New York State Assembly Speaker, claimed May 28, 2015 that the $4 million financial gain he allegedly acquired from corrupt practices was legitimate and was "standard practice," according to the New York Daily News.
  • Mealey's
    Defendants' challenges to an expert's "every exposure" testimony in a case against Ford Motor Co. and Honeywell International, Inc. were enough to inform asbestos plaintiffs that defendants would challenge similar testimony from another expert, a federal judge ruled in North Carolina May 26, 2015.
  • Belleville News-Democrat
    On May 27, 2015, an Illinois Senate committee voted down SB 884, which would have helped to curb abusive lawsuits by setting stricter standards for venue. The bill was part of an overall plan to improve business climate in Illinois. It was defeated by an 8 – 4 vote along party lines.
  • Mealey’s
    A federal judge held May 21, 2015 that the state of Louisiana does not make mental anguish damages available to plaintiffs solely for asbestos exposure, even assuming plaintiffs witnessed such exposure.
  • Mealey's
  • Southeast Texas Record
    David Yates
    On May 22, 2015, the Texas Senate passed HB 1492, a bill that aims to end "double dipping" by plaintiffs' attorneys in asbestos litigation. Double dipping refers to personal injury lawyers suing a company and claiming its products alone harmed their clients and then also filing claims with asbestos trusts blaming other products for the injury.Texas tort reform groups such as Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse campaigned for its passage. HB 1492 now goes to Gov. Greg Abbott for signing.
  • Law360
    A California federal judge sanctioned a Brayton Purcell LLP attorney on May 26, 2015 for attempting to manipulate evidence in a Navy asbestos case. After asbestos plaintiff attorney Gilbert Purcell lied to the court, saying a witness would not testify, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria fined him $250.
  • Business Insurance
    Judy Greenwald
    Texas House Bill 1492 has been approved by the Senate and sent to Gov. Greg Abbott. If signed, the legislation would require asbestos claimants to provide notice of claims against all asbestos bankruptcy trusts before proceeding with trial. Defendants would be able to list trusts the plaintiff could potentially make successful claims against but has not disclosed. West Virginia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Ohio have enacted similar legislation.
  • LexisNexis Legal Newsroom: Litigation
    Melissa Tarab
    The Superior Court of Pennsylvania rejected the "any exposure" or "each and every fiber" theory, stating that it is not sufficient to prove personal injury causation in asbestos exposure lawsuits. The opinion was a response to a case in which a claimant alleged asbestos exposure from welding rods and sheet gaskets in the workplace.
  • Legal Newsline
    Heather Isringhausen Gvillo
    The federal FACT Act has gained the support of asbestos defense lawyers in Madison County, Illinois, a hotbed for asbestos lawsuits. The bill would help to increase transparency in asbestos litigation by targeting plaintiffs' attorneys' practice of "double dipping" into bankruptcy trust funds by citing conflicting evidence in multiple claims. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. notes that “the FACT Act increases transparency in the Bankruptcy Code in order to protect the finite funds available.” Rep. Goodlatte also notes that it will help asbestos claimants and protect their privacy.
  • Legal Newsline
    Jessica Karmasek
    A catalogue of evidence exposing plaintiffs' attorneys in the Garlock Sealing Technologies bankruptcy is now available to the public following a judge's ruling. The Legal Newsline story points out that the documents "allegedly showed a pervasive pattern of misrepresentation and suppression of evidence on the part of asbestos plaintiffs and their attorneys."
  • Roll Call
    John Brieden
    Texas Judge John Brieden notes that the abuse of asbestos bankruptcy trusts has created a threat to veterans. "The system of filing a claim against the trust funds has become a toxic cocktail of money, secrecy and greed that threatens the financial viability of these trust funds," he writes, acknowledging that veterans are being used for the public relations agenda to prevent asbestos litigation reform. 
  • Harris Martin
    Citing state workers' compensation law, a Louisiana federal court dismissed asbestos injury claims against AT&T Corp. and BellSouth Telecommunications LLC on May 7, 2015. The judge determined that state workers compensation law barred the plaintiff's claim.
  • Law360
    The Texas Supreme Court sided with Dow Chemical Co. in a clarification of Chapter 95 of the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code, affirming that premise owners are generally not liable for work-related injuries to the employees of independent contractors. Attorneys say asbestos plaintiffs' lawyers often try to claim negligence in seeking to circumvent the law's restrictions.
  • Legal Newsline
    Jonathan Bilyk
    A federal judge denied a retired pipefitter's "any exposure" rationale in a lawsuit filed against ExxonMobil and Owens-Illinois. The claimant alleged that his lung cancer was caused by asbestos exposure, but, after the judges evidentiary rulting, the jury ruled that his three-decade cigarette smoking habit was the sole proximate cause.
  • Law360
    Paul DeBenedetto
    The Texas House of Representatives passed House Bill 1492 on May 8, 2015. The bill would increase transparency in asbestos litigation by requiring claimants to file bankruptcy trust claims before filing a lawsuit. Courts would have the ability to stay all trials until they obtain notice of all trust claims.
  • Huffington Post
    Sara Warner
    Author Sara Warner notes that the Garlock case has triggered a debate on whether -- with more public information about asbestos claims, and conflicting evidence of injury -- might we see government liens against payments to claimants in the future. With increasing calls for bankruptcy trust transparency and fairness, will asbestos plaintiff lawyer excesses hurt injured individuals and their families in this manner?
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    Alan Scher Zagier
    A recent report by the Illinois Civil Justice League shows that Madison County, Illinois had an unusually high rate of lawsuits filed in 2013. The Associated Press story says plaintiff's attorneys are drawn to Madison County's reputation for giving claimants favorable verdicts in asbestos lawsuits, and notes these lawyers contribute to the local judges' campaigns. Edwardsville has a revenue surplus because of it's imbalanced courts.
  • National Law Review
    Renee C. Kelley and Matthew J. Fischer
    On May 1, 2015, an Illinois jury rejected a plaintiff's claim that his lung cancer developed from a combination of cigarette smoking and alleged asbestos exposure. Supporting the defendants' argument, the jury found that the claimant's cigarette smoking alone caused his cancer.
  • Washington Post
    Niraj Chokshi
    U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who recently took down former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver over asbestos kickbacks and other charges, says he is committed to increasing transparency in New York. On May 4, 2015, Senate President Dean Skelos and son surrendered to face several charges.
  • New York Times
    Jim Dwyer
    Several political wrongdoings in New York and New Jersey were exposed May 4, 2015, following suit of the indictment of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who is charged with receiving kickbacks from an asbestos litigation scheme. Recently, two officials under Gov. Chris Christie were arraigned. Separately, state Senate leader Dean Skelos and his son were arrested on several charges.
  • DNAinfo
    Murray Weiss
    Federal investigators say they are now wiretapping potential leads from the investigation of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. This information follows Silver's indictment over asbestos kickbacks and other acts, as well as charges brought against Silver's son-in-law in a Ponzi scheme not related to the indictment.
  • Your Houston News
    DeWitt Gayle
    Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse of Central Texas Chairman DeWitt Gayle notes that "double dipping" in asbestos cases--when asbestos claimants receive multiple payouts for the same injury--reduces resources meant to compensate other individuals injured by asbestos. He supports Texas HB 1492, which would require more transparency in asbestos claims.
  • US News & World Report
    Alan Scher Zagier
    A new report shows Madison County, Illinois has a very high rate of lawsuits. Plaintiff's attorneys are drawn to the county's reputation for an imbalance in asbestos lawsuit verdicts. The lawsuits have generated a $14 million surplus for Edwardsville and has put Madison County's in the middle of a national debate over asbestos lawsuits. The county has the most lawsuits filed in Illinois, twice as many as Chicago’s Cook County. Over three years, Madison County had five times as many asbestos lawsuits as Philadelphia, which is about 65 times larger. Gov. Rauner wants a law to curb this "venue shoping." Also noted is the cozy relationship between Edwardsville’s judges and the asbestos plaintiff lawyers who contribute to their campaigns.
  • Observer
    Jillian Jorgensen
    Federal Judge Valerie Caproni set Sheldon Silver's trial date for Nov. 2, 2015 after Silver pleaded not guilty to his expanded federal indictment charges. Silver allegedly gained millions of dollars in kickbacks and bribes through his assembly position in Albany, exchanging asbestos patient referrals for research funds.
  • Law360
    Emily Field
    A Texas state court of appeals says a lower court erred when it granted a new trial for an asbestos claimant. At the trial court level, a previous jury had found that E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. was not liable for the claimant's death, then a new trial was granted. The state court of appeals says the lower court abused its discretionary privileges in granting the new trial.
  • New York Times
    Benjamin Mueller
    Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is pleading not guilty to his new indictment charges. In addition to previous charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and extortion, Silver is now charged with transferring almost $300,000 of illegally obtained proceeds into investments not available to the general public and providing favors as a public official.
  • Law360
    Aebra Coe
    Earlier this April, Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer stopped Belluck & Fox's attempt to block subpoenas for documents from asbestos bankruptcy trust claims and processing facilities. In a North Carolina federal court April 24, Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC said Belluck & Fox is recycling the same arguments as before, attempting to stop pertinent discovery. “Defendants’ current objections are simply a re-argument of a straightforward discovery dispute that this court referred to Judge Cayer in the first place,” Garlock said.
  • Wall Street Journal
    Rebecca Davis O'Brien
    Federal prosecutors added a new charge to former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's indictment Thursday. The charge alleges that Silver took actions as a state official in exchange for being able to put illegally obtained funds into investment opportunities. This charge amends Silver's February 2015 indictment, which included mail fraud, extortion and wire fraud.
  • New York Post
    Josh Saul
    New court papers claim that former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver invested $340,000 under a family member's name to avoid disclosure laws. Federal prosecutors revised Silver's indictment Thursday based on these allegations. 
  • New York Times
    Federal prosecutors have added a new charge to former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's indictment. Added Thursday, the new charge alleges that Silver transferred almost $300,000 of illegally obtained funds into investments not available to the general public.
  • Harris Martin
    A Pennsylvania appellate court and the trial court are in agreement that plaintiffs failed to produce sufficient evidence of causation of harm against P&H Mining Equipment in an asbestos case.
  • Wall Street Journal
    Corruption charges naming former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver are revealing unseemly connections between the politicians and asbestos trial lawyers, and the public airing of dirty laundry is bearing fruit. Consider the revealing drama in New York’s asbestos court, where defense lawyers reportedly say the “docket has been rigged to favor one tort firm, Weitz & Luxenberg.”  The lawyers also wrote to the new NYCAL chief judge, Peter Moulton, that the excesses in this court are out-of-step with other prominent asbestos venues.
  • National Law Review
    Paul Scrudato, Shane O'Connell, Jill Berry
    Authors Scrudato, O'Connell and Berry recognize the need for change in New York's asbestos court system, mentioning that the American Tort Reform Association recently dubbed NCAL the No. 1 Judicial Hellhole. The article discusses Judge Barbara Jaffe's April 13 decision to reject $11 million in asbestos-related mesothelioma claims, saying evidence standards were not met sufficiently.
  • Springfield State Journal-Register
    A report by the Illinois Civil Justice League says Cook and Madison counties have unusually high rates of lawsuits in comparison to other counties. Madison County reportedly handles up to half of asbestos-related cases in the U.S. ICJL President John Pastuovic observes that the high rates of lawsuits may drive businesses away from the state.
  • Washington Times
    A new Illinois Civil Justice League report identifies Cook and Madison counties as being significantly more litigious than the rest of Illinois, due in part to the the high number of U.S. asbestos cases being filed in Madison County. ICJL President John Pastuovic says 90 percent of asbestos lawsuits in Madison County are filed by out-of-state claimants. The report says asbestos plaintiffs attorneys favor Madison County because they know the high likelihood of the outcomes of their cases being favorable.
  • Southeast Texas Record
    The Southeast Texas Record opinion piece urges passage of Texas House Bill 1492, which would require asbestos plaintiffs to disclose all asbestos claims. The editorial compares asbestos plaintiffs attorneys' "double dipping" to a child who asks both parents for something sequentially without acknowledging the communication with the other parent.
  • Today's News-Herald
    Zachary Matson
    Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed HB 2603 into law on April 9, 2015, that will require asbestos plaintiffs' lawyers to disclose if they have filed, or are considering filing, multiple claims for their clients. HB 2603, sponsored by Rep. Sonny Borrelli, is designed to help prevent "double dipping" in asbestos claims.
  • Reuters
    Nate Raymond
    U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni ruled on April 10, 2015 that she would not dismiss former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's federal corruption charges. Silver's lawyers had sought dismissal arguing that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's comments following Silver's arrest were prejudicial. Judge Caproni reportedly said Silver's counsel had not established grounds for taking the "extreme step" of dismissing the charges.
  • New York Post
    Julia Marsh
    The new chief judge for New York City's asbestos docket, Justice Peter Moulton, plans to probe accusations of the court giving favorable treatment to Sheldon Silver-linked firm Weitz & Luxenberg. “You can be assured that I’ll be looking under the hood scrupulously,” Justice Peter Moulton told an audience of more than 200 lawyers involved in asbestos litigation, at a special public meeting at Manhattan Supreme Court. Moulton also promised transparency in all future asbestos cases, with all motions being heard in open court.
  • Office of the Arizona Governor Doug Ducey
    Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed HB 2603, asbestos transparency legislation, on April 9, 2015, stating, "Our administration is steadfastly committed to ensuring the tort process is fair for all parties involved."  The law takes effect July 3, 2015.
  • Forbes
    Daniel Fisher
    On April 9, 2015, defense lawyers make their case for updating the rules of the New York City Asbestos Litigation court. Defense attorneys delivered their written arguments on March 31, 2015, calling for a 60-day stay of most cases to allow a review of NYCAL's Case Management Order. The defense lawyers say Sheldon Silver's asbestos plaintiff firm Weitz & Luxenberg has received special treatment and has been able to "cherry-pick" its case docket and grab juries to hear its cases. 
  • Southeast Texas Record
    David Yates
    A Texas asbestos reform bill, HB 1492, introduced by State Rep. Doug Miller, is being applauded as a needed reform to reduce asbestos fraud and abuse. Julian Alvarez of Rio Grande Valley Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse said about the double-dipping, “It is unacceptable for personal injury lawyers to engage in this unethical behavior to fatten their paychecks, especially when it reduces the resources available to compensate truly injured individuals.” Supporters of the bill include Texans for Lawsuit Reform and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among others.
  • Wall Street Journal
    Sherman Joyce
    ATRA President Sherman Joyce observes how recent events are raising awareness and deep concerns about the way personal injury lawyers are recruiting asbestos plaintiffs and the number of untruthful claims these lawyers are filing. Joyce notes that the policing of seemly advertising and fraud by personal injury lawyers gets ignored by the FTC, state bar associations, state attorneys general and congressional investigators, and he calls for more effective oversight to protect consumers and bring sense to the legal system for asbestos fraud and other abuses. 
  • New York Post
    Rich Calder
    If Sheldon Silver is convicted, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara plans to seize his Albany pension, two of his homes and some of his financial accounts. Bharara filed a motion seeking a court-ordered seizure of the assets on March 31, 2015. Silver has been indicted for a fraud and kickback scheme to generate asbestos injury claims.
  • New York Post
    Susan Edelman and Julia Marsh
    A group of 45 law firms have banded together to "revolt" against what the say is a slanted legal system. Following former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's indictment, asbestos defense lawyers are calling for an overhaul of the New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL) case management rules, which they say favors firms like Weitz & Luxenberg. This plaintiff firm engineered a return to punitive damages in NYCAL, which defense lawyers say is leading to "jackpot justice" awards, and they have requested a 60-day stay of asbestos litigation.
  • Phoenix Business Journal
    Mike Sunnucks
    A new bill approved by the Arizona Legislature and sent to the governor on April 1, 2015, will require transparency regarding past and future lawsuits in asbestos trust claims filings. The measure was applauded by the U.S. Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform. If signed into law, Arizona will join Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin which, have also enacted landmark trust transparency laws.
  • Mealey's
    New York City asbestos defendants have asked for a 60-day stay of pending litigation in a joint motion to the NYCAL court. They want the parties involved to rework the case management order so that it is fair and balanced.
  • Forbes
    Daniel Fisher
    Everest Re Group, Ltd. seeks to reopen a case which resulted in the insurer being ordered to pay $1.7 billion into the Pittsburgh Corning bankruptcy trust fund. Everest says the asbestos lawyers displayed "pervasive fraudulent conduct" during proceedings. Judge George R. Hodges is quoted in the article saying similar evidence in the Garlock case suggests a process “infected by the manipulation of exposure evidence by plaintiffs and their lawyers."
  • Forbes
    Daniel Fisher
    In a Garlock Sealing Technologies case, persistence led to the discovery that asbestos attorney Benjamin Shein failed to present important evidence about other dangerous chemicals his client was exposed to, making Garlock appear more liable that it actually was. The claimant later filed with more than 20 bankruptcy trusts. This case has exposed the inner workings of "one of the longest-run and most lucrative schemes in the American litigation business," Forbes Senior Editor Daniel Fisher writes. Lester Brickman, professor at Yeshiva University, conducted research on the asbestos litigation system and concluded, "There's rampant fraud in every one of those cases."
  • The Pennsylvania Record
    John O'Brien
    Attorney Benjamin Shein said in 2013 that his firm focused on proving claims against solvent companies before filing claims against bankrupt companies. In 2014, Bankruptcy Judge George Hodges ruled that Shein's firm delayed filing because the other claims could have made Garlock appear less liable. The claimant's attorneys later filed 20 claims with bankruptcy trusts.
  • State Journal
    Linda Harris
    Changes in West Virginia asbestos laws and other civil justice reforms have been significant. Now asbestos plaintiffs will be required to show impairment and disclose other claims. Senate President Bill Cole said he thinks the session “will go down as historic…the sum total of what we did will be the beginning of a true turnaround in our great state.” Several third parties comment on the reforms.
  • Madison County Record
    Chris Dickerson
    West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has signed a bill that will create transparency and more stringent legal standards for handling asbestos and silica claims. Roman Stauffer, of West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, observed. “This legislation passed the State Senate and House of Delegates with strong bi-partisan support because legislators realized the need to bring transparency into the asbestos claims process.  Abuse of the asbestos trust claims process is widespread, and this legislation will shed much-needed daylight on how trusts are being run and cut down on widespread fraud in trust claims and litigation.”  
  • The Madison-St.Clair Record
    Heather Isringhausen Gvillo
    Darren McKinney of the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) said Durbin’s comments on his asbestos exposure bill were exaggerated for political purposes. “This is a fiction that he has created on behalf of the plaintiff’s bar to which he owes much.” Durbin’s political campaigns have been heavily supported by asbestos plaintiffs’ lawyers. In May, Vice President Biden attended a Durbin/DSCC fundraiser at Simmons’ home. Simmons' attorneys gave Durbin $136,185 in his last two campaigns. McKinney also said Durbin’s bill does not acknowledge that asbestos is already heavily regulated by OSHA and the EPA.
  • Madison County Record
    Travis Akin
    Lawsuit reform coalition spokesperson Travis Akin describes the extent of asbestos litigation in Madison County, Illinois and urges residents there to learn more from the AsbestosLitigationWatch.org website.
  • New York Post
    Susan Edelman
    Sheldon Silver’s former law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, which has been accused of using its relationship with Silver in the New York City Asbestos Litigation court (NYCAL), is being scrutinized for its extensive ties to asbestos bankruptcy trusts. The law firm helps to control 15 of these trusts, which have paid out over $12 billion in the past ten years, and it files claims against these and other trusts for its own clients. The author points out that the “system is rife with double-dipping abuse.”
  • Legal Newsline
    John O'Brien
    Garlock claims that the largest verdict delivered against it, $24 million, came about because the company was not allowed to present to the jury evidence that would have demonstrated that the plaintiff, Roebrt Treggett, was exposed to another company's product. Garlock knew what products were on-site at Treggett's work location, but the Waters & Kraus attorney, Ron Eddins, was able to keep the information away from the jury even though the plaintiff had already made a claim for exposure to the other company's product, Unibestos.
  • The Madison St.-Clair Record
    The Madison St.-Clair Record editorializes about how asbestos plaintiffs attorneys should exercise caution when sponsoring research to help expand asbestos-related litigation. The example of former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, recently indicted for secretly exchanging state research funds for referrals of asbestos clients for his law firm, is cited. The editorial points out that "Sheldon Silver was a dog not to lie down with," given his recent troubles.
  • Harris Martin
    The federal court overseeing the Garlock RICO cases against plaintiff firms has denied the firms' requests to have their cases transferred to other venues, citing a desire for consistent treatment by one court. [Note: the orders are available in this website's Resource Center].
  • Legal Newsline
    In regard to Sheldon Silver's February 24, 2015 motion to dismiss because of pre-trial publicity, filed by Silver's attorney Steven Molo, U.S. prosecutor Preet Bharara responded that his office has long provided leadership in “combating public corruption through prosecutions of public officials who use their office for self-enrichment or who otherwise abuse their official positions.” Bharara added that no court has found reason to dismiss an indictment as a result of pretrial publicity.  Further, he said “The defendant does not proffer any evidence that the indictment was not properly returned, that anything improper occurred in the grand jury, or that he suffered any actual prejudice in the return of the indictment.”
  • Legal Newsline
    Jessica M. Karmasek
    Judge Peter Moulton, who takes over for Judge Sherry Klein Heitler in the New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL), is said to be well versed in law and public service, although he is a new face to asbestos litigants. Many hope his perceived distance from the spheres of influence in the court will be a fresh start for this court and help restore fairness and order to NYCAL.
  • Madison Record
    Heather Isringhausen Gvillo
    A new defense being used in asbestos litigation is the genetic mutation called BAP1 which is said to raise the risk of a person developing mesothelioma from asbestos exposure. Dr. Michele Carbone at the University of Hawaii says that it can increase this risk and also can directly cause mesothelioma.  A research report on BAP1 came out in 2011, but reportedly only recently has the science come up in asbestos litigation.
  • LAW360.com
    Kurt Orzeck
    On March 6, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of some 1,000 asbestos and silica plaintiffs seeking a constitutional challenge to a Texas law that allowed a MDL pre-trial court to disallow their claims because they lacked jurisdiction.  
  • Phoenix Business Journal
    Mike Sunnucks
    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is backing a bill under consideration in the Arizona Legislature to bring greater transparency to asbestos-related lawsuits and asbestos trust claims. U.S. Chamber spokesperson Harold Kim said the reform legislation will require plaintiffs' attorneys to disclose if they are or will be seeking recovery from bankruptcy trusts.  Kim added that most claims are settled, and defendants are disadvantaged if they are not aware of trust claims when negotiating settlements.
  • New York Daily News
    Kenneth Lovett
    Pace Law School Professor Bennett Gershman, a former prosecutor who has been critical of the U.S. attorney who brought charges against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, has been linked to one of Silver’s lawyers by the New York Daily News.  Gershman and Silver’s attorney Joel Cohen are former colleagues and long-term friends, and they have co-written news commentary together.  Gershman has accused U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's of “grandstanding” through comments to the media and other groups.  
  • Legal Newsline
    Jessica M. Karmasek
    A number of attorneys who practice in New York City support the reports that the New York City Asbestos Litigation court and former Chief Judge Sherry Heitler were corrupt and dishonest, despite protestations from a court spokesman. Sheldon Silver's law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, held significant influence over the courts, in pushing their cases to be heard first and even requesting that Heitler reinstitute punitive damages in asbestos cases. Heitler had a very hands-off style and did most of her work in chambers rather than open court. The Judicial Hellholes report named NYCAL the worst Judicial Hellhole in the country in its 2014/2015 release.
  • Mealey's Toxic Tort Environmental Report
    On February 25, 2015 an Illinois appeals court heard challenges to a $1.4 million verdict.  Defendants asserted a lack of sufficient information on a jury verdict form related to a nearby leasee's use of asbestos. Estate of Lilienthal, No. 4-14-0280, Ill. App., 4th Dist.
  • New York Post
    Lia Eustachewich
    New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL) Judge Sherry Heitler -- who reinstituted punitive damages reportedly at the request of the Weitz & Luxenberg asbestos plaintiff firm with ties to Sheldon Silver -- is stepping down more than two months after her term expired. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Peter H. Moutlon will lead NYCAL. Heitler's court is being investigated for allegedly giving Silver's former law firm special treatment. In this court, dozens of asbestos lawsuits were filed by Weitz & Luxenberg, where Silver was ʺof counselʺ and received $5.3 million in what federal prosecutors say were kickbacks, and many of these cases tried before judges connected to Silver. Over the last four years, the firm made $273.5 million of the $313.5 million awarded by NYCAL juries in 15 mesothelioma verdicts. Courts spoikesman David Bookstaver denied the claims.
  • West Virginia Record
    Chris Dickerson
    The West Virginia Senate passed unanimously asbestos trust transparency bill, SB 411, on February 27th. It sets standards and processes for handling certain asbestos and silica claims, as well as setting medical criteria and procedures. Other elements of the legislation are a statute of limitations and disclosure of existing and potential asbestos trust claims. SB 411, The Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Transparency Act and the Asbestos and Silica Claims Priorities Act, now goes to the House of Delegates for consideration.
  • New York Post
    Thomas Stebbins
    Tomas Stebbins criticizes New York's legal system on many fronts. Regarding asbestos, Stebbins notes, "Even in the specialty courts, the game is rigged in favor of the plaintiffs’ lawyers. As reported in The Post, the New York City Asbestos Litigation court is far out of line from the rest of the country — consolidating wildly dissimilar cases and handing down verdict awards that are over twice the national average. And the largest law firm practicing before that court is none other than Weitz and Luxenberg, the very firm that paid former Speaker Silver millions, according to the indictment. We need far greater transparency into the NYCAL.... Silver’s exit is a historic opportunity for reform. It’s time our elected officials — especially our new Assembly leadership — showed us that they work for the people, not the trial lawyers.
  • Washington Examiner
    Mark Tapscott
    Reporter Mark Tapscott observes that for all the media frenzy around Assemblyman and former Speaker Sheldon Silver's federal indictment, little attention is being paid to this Silver case illustrating how, even with a number of major plaintiff lawyers going to jail in recent years, buying plaintiffs and other related abuses remain common tactics in personal injury lawyers' class-action lawsuits. Tapscott notes that while Perry Weitz of the Weitz & Luxenberg asbestos law firm that paid Silver was shocked about the payments to Silver, the notorious and now jailed plaintiff lawyer William Lerach had claimed buying plaintiffs is standard practice.
  • Legal Newsline
    John O'Brien
    To show how Garlock's prior litigation history included inflated claims as asbestos plaintiff attorneys manipulated the system, the company produced evidence of past asbestos claims, including several involving Philadelphia's Shein Law Center. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge George Hodges ultimately sided with Garlock's position that its liability going forward should not be based on the company's litigation history. The court records were recently unsealed after the seal was challenged by Legal Newsline and other entities. The record reveals that Benjamin Shein testified that his firm filed trust claims after llitigation was completed in order to keep other bankrupt companies' names off the verdict form.
  • Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental
    A federal judge in Connecticut ruled on February 19, 2015 that there was insufficient evidence to link seven defendants to a man's claim of asbestos exposure. The judge ruled for the defendants.  
  • The New York Times
    William K. Rashbaum
    Former Assembly Speaker Silver was formally charged with a three-count indictment on February 19th in federal court in Manhattan. Judge Valerie Caproni will be hearing the case, related to asbestos kickbacks and other activities.  
  • Huffington Post
    Sara Warner
    With the NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver indicted, Sara Warner observes that the persons injured by asbestos were kept in the dark about the bribery and kickbacks.  She adds, as the Wall Street Journal's Ashby Jones noted,  patients were referred by a doctor receiving $500,000 in state funds because of Silver.  Familys of plaintiffs would have been surprised to discover that expenses deducted from settlements include paying a doctor $1,750 per hour, plus other lavish travel expenses.
  • The Silverstein Group Mass Tort Ad Watch Blog
    The Sheldon Silver scandal and connection to asbestos plaintiff firm Weitz & Luxenberg highlights the intense competition for clients that causes millions in monthly asbestos ad spending. The prominent competition for asbestos clients is seen in TV ads across the country and throughout the day and night.Silverstein reports that while drug and device injury ads declined in December 2015 mesothelioma injury ads werre up 15 percent. Asbestos injury ad spending was higher than injury advertising on the top 11 drugs targeted by plaintiff lawyers. In December the asbestos ad spend totalled nearly $5 million for 6500 TV ads!  
  • The New York Times
    Dionne Searcey, Anemona Hartocollis, Russ Buettner and David W. Chen
    The timeline of alleged payoffs involving New York State Assembly Speaker Silver's role in an asbestos litigation scheme involving referrals, kickbacks, a major New York law firm and Dr. Robert Taub. Diagrams of alleged corruption are provided.
  • Reuters
    Joseph Ax
    Former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver faces trial on charges that he received kickbacks and bribes, including $3 million in referral bonuses for asbestos claimants he obtained in exchange for state research grants he arranged for Columbia University professor Dr. Robert Taub. At the same time, the former state Senate Majority Leader is facing corruption charges. A U.S. attorney called the statehouse "one of the most corrupt governments in the nation."

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